Post Irma Update
September 15, 2017
I apologize for the delay in providing an update of the conditions existing after the hurricane. The office that normally sends out our updates was closed. Shown below is a note from the County updating us on the the conditions after the storm. The second note is from the City Manager, Bill Moss. Both notes were provided by City Council representative Doug Finley. The notes address the following:
. The path of Irma
. Why we were relatively spared from a worse storm surge
. The response of Florida Power & Light and Collier County to the storm
. The status of repairs to the power grid and City services
. The response of the City to cleaning up after the event
Please feel free to reach out to me if I your Board can be of assistance. Best regards,
Bill Lutz, President
Coquina Sands Association
Hurricane Irma was unique in that it spared very little of Florida. And this storm had a very hard time making up it’s mind where it was going to make landfall on our West Coast. We were very fortunate in that it shifted fifty to seventy miles eastward as it left the Keys, making Marco Island and Naples ground zero for this hurricane.
This shift minimized the storm surge. Early reports mark it between two feet and three feet through many parts of the City of Naples. These are reports that I have heard through conversations and meetings since Monday afternoon and as the weeks unfold, we will have a better data to bring forward.
Because of the size and power of the storm … Category 3 in Collier County, and it’s continually shifting tract in the few days before Sunday’s landfall, Florida Power & Light (FPL) moved their equipment in tandem, away from the West Coast. This created more ‘windshield time’ for their response. The City of Naples has done an outstanding job of clearing the streets of debris quickly and efficiently, allowing the residents to access to their homes. This was a high priority for the City and was an important planning tool in the recovery process. The County, large as it is and one of the largest in the State of Florida, also cleared roads quickly especially on the major thoroughfare.
According to FPL, the hardest areas hit were the Orangetree/Oil Well Road area, Davis Boulevard/Radio Road area and the Isles of Capri up to the Collier Boulevard area. Because the storm crossed over most of Florida within a two day period, FPL brought in additional crews from 36 states and Canada. County and City crews are not permitted to remove the trees that have fallen on power lines. Only trained personal can do this.
As of 2 PM on September 14th, there are 125,390 FPL customers out-of-power and 85,310 customers have been restored. What is taking so long?
According to estimates by County officials, we have twice the debris that we had in Hurricane Wilma and in many instances, this debris must be removed in order to restore power. Special crews must be brought in to untangle tree limbs from power lines. And they are working around the clock. The grid of the electricity delivery is complex and layered, and that is why, as I sit in my home in darkness, my neighbors just across my street are bright and well-lit. Great patience is required at these times and frequent cold showers.
Finally, with all the power outages throughout the County, not all our lift stations are functioning. When power comes on, as it has in many parts of the northern end of our County, folks get busy washing their clothes and running the dishwasher putting added strain on a system that may have a poorly functioning lift station. The County has brought in pumps and generators to assist until power is restored, but please do your part…flush less, wear that shirt as long as you can and conserve water.
Finally as an observer (these past 3 ½ days) of the Emergency Operations Center and of all the organizations working there before, during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, I can assure you that our County is in good hands. Under the leadership of Dan Summers, we have made substantial progress in regaining a sense of normalcy after this storm.
This storm is a disaster, and like all disasters, has brought its’ share of challenges. But your County employees are working hard, many of them round-the-clock, and the extraordinary leadership at the Emergency Operations Center is guiding Collier County to a full recovery. If you have power, conserve your water, and if you don’t have power, please let me know how our office can help you through this period. We can’t turn on the power for you, but are there to answer your questions and help.
Helping each other, extending that hand out to a neighbor or a friend or even a stranger is what makes our County so great! I saw this as I travelled throughout the county watching as cars courteously stopped for one another at dangerous intersections with no traffic lights.
The good news is that many of those intersections now have functioning traffic lights, and more and more gas stations and businesses are opening up thanks to the continued restoration of power.
We are well on the way to recovery!
Thank you and please feel free to share this information.
Mayor and City Council:
Morning staff meeting in EOC with all manages report the following:
● Power restored to 43% of FPL customers in the city (9480). 22100 do not have power.
● All but 15 water customers have water service as of this morning. A power line is interfering with restoration for those 15. There will be a few shut temporary downs today to replace a f water valves.
● The stressful situation with the 120 sewer lift stations improved overnight. 40 stations now have power. Stationary and mobile generators should be able to handle the remaining 80 lift stations. 10 more generators were acquired this morning.
● Collier County is asking their customers to curtail water usage due to the same lift station issues. We do not intend to issue a similar notice, although some in the city are hearing the county’s public service messages and believe the city intends to shut down the water system. We will ask Collier County to be sure their announcements do not pertain to city customers.
● Most staff have worked 12 days straight. Operations will be scaled back over the weekend to allow rest and time to deal with their personal storm-related issues. Many employees remain without power at their homes.
● The national FOP is providing breakfast, lunch, and dinner for all employees today.
● Water distribution continues at the River Park Community Center. Employees were asked to place cases of water in their vehicles and to offer it to people around the community.
● Staff continues to check on welfare of residents and fuel for their generators.
● There are a lot of hanging limbs on power lines. Removal of the worst will be attempted today.
● Park clean up continues and sidewalks/parking space clean up in commercial areas will start today.
● The first reported employee injury (stiches), using a chain saw, occurred yesterday. Minor injury. Also, an employee of a city contractor received minor injury (stiches) while using a chain saw.
● Concerns that employees stay hydrated due to hot weather and very hard work.
● FEMA will not place food “pods” within 3 miles of a grocery store, so we do not expect to receive any.
● Fleishmann Park now has power. Some damage to the building.
● The curfew remains in effect. Conference call with County EOC later today will reassess the need for a curfew.
● Fish kill reported in Naples Bay.
● We think the fuel shortage may improve today. Many more service stations have power to pump gasoline. Issue seems to be isolated to Collier County as the supply chain works its way south. Officers remain at service stations as tempers rise while waiting in long lines.
● Communications—insuring that all are providing the same information, remains a challenge but seems to be going well. Employees are reminded to remain calm and supportive when talking to citizens.
● Biggest issue and most communications are due to power outages.
● CodeRED and email blasts will continue today and will likely scale back thereafter.
● Unified command system has worked very well. EOC continues to direct recovery efforts. All departments are well-coordinated and support each other.
● Employee morale appears to be very good, although greater levels of stress are noted, especially among those employees who have damage to homes and/or do not have power.
● Open enrollment for health insurance has been extended for one week.
● The Computer Lab at River Park is up. Internet service is available.
● Q&A sheet will be distributed to department directors and employees in insure consistent information is given to citizens.
● Estimated cost of damage to city-owned facilities and financial outlays (employees, contractors) should be available by Wednesday.
● Water Treatment Plant and Wastewater Treatment Plants are operating without issues. Water supply is challenging due to power outages at wells.
● All-ring system in city hall insures that someone will answer the phone. System will roll over to EOC at 5:00 p.m.
● Community Services has three crews assigned to Stormwater to clean stormwater catch basins. Debris place over catch basins and significant leaf buildup will likely cause localized flooding when it rains.
● Community Services continues to offer child care for employees. 21 attended yesterday.
● Harbor Master is dealing with a sunken 64’ vessel with 300 gallons of fuel. Estimated 16 vessels sunk as of a couple of days ago.
● A pier assessment team should have their evaluation completed next week. Attempts will be made to keep the pier open for public use up to the concession stand.
● Sufficient fuel on hand and deliveries continue.
● Developing plan to test water system for bacteria this weekend. We hope to lift boil water advisory by Tuesday if all goes well. If bacteria is detected, then maybe by next weekend.
● Police and Fire-Rescue are working hard to support other departments and to insure visibility and public safety. They will likely resume to normal staffing after today.
We apologize for the delay in the publication of the City Council Agenda for Wednesday. Technology issues developed late yesterday. We hope to publish agenda today.
That’s about it.
City of Naples