Hurricane Sally: Live Updates

2 hours ago

Oct. 5

Alert: Pensacola to declare state of emergency, effective Tuesday, Mayor Grover Robinson said during his weekly news conference this morning.

Mobile center on hold

From FEMA:

Due to technical issues the Mobile Registration Intake Center scheduled to open today at 12745 Pagett Witch Road, in Bayou La Batre will not be operational.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.   

Survivors may also register for federal disaster assistance: 

  • Online at www.disasterassistance.gov;
  • By downloading the FEMA app to a smartphone or tablet, or
  • By calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). Helpline operators are also available to answer questions about applications already submitted. 

There is a Mobile Registration Intake Center located at 316 Pritchard Ave, Pritchard, AL.  it will be at that location Oct. 12-14.

Oct. 3

(Editor's note: FEMA on Saturday corrected the address of the Santa Rosa Center in Gulf Breeze.)

FEMA opens three Escambia centers

FEMA has opened mobile registration centers for Hurricane Sally survivors in Escambia County today. Here is a portion of FEMA’s news release:

The centers, called Mobile Registration Intake Centers (MRICs), are staffed with FEMA personnel who can assist with registration and answer questions about disaster-assistance programs. Center locations in Escambia are:

Southwest Branch Library, 12248 Gulf Beach Hwy., Pensacola, FL 32507

Hours: Daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Brownsville Community Center, 3200 W. DeSoto St., Pensacola, FL 32505

Hours: Daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Escambia County Extension Service, 3740 Stefani Rd., Cantonment, FL 32533

Hours: Daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

The center operates under COVID-19 protocols to ensure visitors and FEMA personnel are safe. Distancing and face coverings are required. Individuals who come to the center check in at a registration table, give their name and phone number, and then wait in their cars until they receive a text message to come to the FEMA staff at the MRIC. This process reduces the number of people standing in lines to mitigate against COVID.

It is not necessary to visit a center to register with FEMA. Disaster survivors with uninsured losses can also apply by:

  • Visiting DisasterAssistance.gov;
  • Downloading the FEMA App; or by
  • Calling 800-621-3362 (800-462-7585 TTY). Multilingual operators are available. The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week. Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel should provide FEMA with their specific phone number assigned to that service.

The following information is necessary when you register:

  • Address of the damaged dwelling where the damage occurred (pre-disaster address)
  • Current mailing address
  • Current telephone number
  • Insurance information
  • Total household annual income
  • Routing and account number for checking or savings account (this allows FEMA to directly transfer disaster assistance funds into a bank account)
  • A description of disaster-caused damage and losses

What to Expect After You Register With FEMA

If you reported that you may not be able to live safely in your home, it may be necessary for FEMA to perform an inspection of the damaged dwelling. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, FEMA field inspections are being conducted remotely.

For remote inspections, FEMA inspectors will contact applicants by phone to answer questions about the type and extent of damage sustained. Remote inspections provide an effective way of evaluating damage, comparable to traditional, in-person inspections, and this expedites the delivery of recovery assistance.

Survivors with minimal damage who can live in their homes will not automatically be scheduled for a home inspection when applying to FEMA. However, they may request an inspection if they later find significant disaster-caused damage.

FEMA opens Santa Rosa center

FEMA has opened a mobile registration center for Hurricane Sally survivors in Santa Rosa County. The center, called a Mobile Registration Intake Center (MRIC), is staffed with FEMA personnel who can assist with registration and answer questions about disaster-assistance programs. Center location:

Pensacola State College,South Santa Rosa Center, 5075 Gulf Breeze Pkwy., Gulf Breeze, FL 32563
Hours: Daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

The center operates under COVID-19 protocols to ensure visitors and FEMA personnel are safe. Distancing and face coverings are required. Individuals who come to the center check in at a registration table, give their name and phone number, and then wait in their cars until they receive a text message to come to the FEMA staff at the MRIC. This process reduces the number of people standing in lines to mitigate against COVID.

It is not necessary to visit a center to register with FEMA. Disaster survivors with uninsured losses can also apply by:

  • Visiting DisasterAssistance.gov;
  • Downloading the FEMA App; or by
  • Calling 800-621-3362 (800-462-7585 TTY). Multilingual operators are available. The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week. Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel should provide FEMA with their specific phone number assigned to that service.

The following information is necessary when you register:

  • Address of the damaged dwelling where the damage occurred (pre-disaster address)
  • Current mailing address
  • Current telephone number
  • Insurance information
  • Total household annual income
  • Routing and account number for checking or savings account (this allows FEMA to directly transfer disaster assistance funds into a bank account)
  • A description of disaster-caused damage and losses

What to Expect After You Register With FEMA
If you reported that you may not be able to live safely in your home, it may be necessary for FEMA to perform an inspection of the damaged dwelling. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, FEMA field inspections are being conducted remotely.

For remote inspections, FEMA inspectors will contact applicants by phone to answer questions about the type and extent of damage sustained. Remote inspections provide an effective way of evaluating damage, comparable to traditional, in-person inspections, and this expedites the delivery of recovery assistance.

Survivors with minimal damage who can live in their homes will not automatically be scheduled for a home inspection when applying to FEMA. However, they may request an inspection if they later find significant disaster-caused damage.

FEMA opens Okaloosa center

Okaloosa County Public Information Office Christopher Saul issued the following news release:

FEMS has opened a mobile registration center for Hurricane Sally survivors in Okaloosa County.

The center, called a Mobile Registration Intake Center (MRIC), is staffed with FEMA personnel who can assist with registration and answer questions about disaster-assistance programs.

Center location:

Emerald Coast Healthcare Coalition, 755 Lovejoy Road, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
Hours: Daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

The center operates under COVID-19 protocols to ensure visitors and FEMA personnel are safe. Distancing and face coverings are required. Individuals who come to the center check in at a registration table, give their name and phone number, and then wait in their cars until they receive a text message to come to the FEMA staff at the MRIC. This process reduces the number of people standing in lines to mitigate against COVID.

It is not necessary to visit a center to register with FEMA. Disaster survivors with uninsured losses can also apply by:

--  Visiting DisasterAssistance.gov

--  Downloading the FEMA App; or by

--  Calling 800-621-3362 (800-462-7585 TTY). 

Multilingual operators are available. The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week. Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel should provide FEMA with their specific phone number assigned to that service.

The following information is necessary when you register:

--  Address of the damaged dwelling where the damage occurred (pre-disaster address)

--  Current mailing address

--  Current telephone number

--  Insurance information

--  Total household annual income

--  Routing and account number for checking or savings account (this allows FEMA to directly transfer disaster assistance funds into a bank account)

--  A description of disaster-caused damage and losses

What to Expect After You Register With FEMA:

--  If you reported that you may not be able to live safely in your home, it may be necessary for FEMA to perform an inspection of the damaged dwelling. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, FEMA field inspections are being conducted remotely.

--  For remote inspections, FEMA inspectors will contact applicants by phone to answer questions about the type and extent of damage sustained. Remote inspections provide an effective way of evaluating damage, comparable to traditional, in-person inspections, and this expedites the delivery of recovery assistance.

-- Survivors with minimal damage who can live in their homes will not automatically be scheduled for a home inspection when applying to FEMA. However, they may request an inspection if they later find significant disaster-

Oct. 2

Volunteers needed in Santa Rosa

Civic and faith-based groups are needed to help Santa Rosa County residents struggling with manpower needs following Hurricane Sally. Volunteers are needed to cut and remove trees, tarp roofs, clean yards and perform other physical tasks for the county’s more vulnerable citizens.

Organizations may register at www.crisiscleanup.org now and will be fast-tracked for approval in time for the crisp cooler weather this weekend! Registration through Crisis Cleanup is important in ensuring needs can be met without duplication of efforts.

Can’t volunteer physically but still want to help? Donate funds to assist Santa Rosa County residents in need through SAFER, (www.santarosa.fl.gov/353/SAFER), Santa Rosa County’s Support Alliance for Emergency Readiness, a local organization that serves the unmet needs of county residents during the long-term recovery period following disasters, or through United Way of West Florida by texting 850Relief to 41444 or online at www.uwwf.org/850Relief.

Santa Rosa County residents who need assistance are encouraged to call Crisis Cleanup, 800-451-1954, to make a request for help.

What Will FEMA Cover?

  • FEMA will provide assistance to those who have lost their homes whether you rent or own.
  • FEMA will offer transitional sheltering assistance for renters and homeowners and also for other disaster related expenses including medical/dental, childcare, funeral/burial, essential household items, moving/storage, vehicle and some clean-up items.
  • FEMA housing assistance typically covers only costs that will make your home habitable. Damage to non-essential space, landscaping or spoiled food usually is not covered by FEMA grants.
  • FEMA assistance can’t duplicate the assistance you receive from your insurance company.
  • FEMA does not offer assistance for secondary homes (vacation homes, rental properties), only primary residences.
  • FEMA does not offer assistance for small businesses but they do partner with the SBA which is offering low interest loans.
  • FEMA will not provide money to individuals or households for losses already covered by insurance but you do not need to wait to apply for FEMA assistance. You will have up to 12 months from the date you registered with FEMA to submit insurance information for review.

Gulf Islands National Seashore Reopening Some Areas

National Park Service officials will reopen several areas of Gulf Islands National Seashore in Florida this weekend. On Saturday, October 3, Johnson Beach in the Perdido Key Area and the Naval Live Oaks Area will reopen. The Okaloosa Area will reopen on Sunday, October 4. The three areas will open on their normal operating schedules. For more information, click here

Update from Escambia County

Santa Rosa County Damage Assessment Report:

  • 50 public facilities damaged (10 roads/bridges, four public buildings, 34 parks/boat ramps)
  • 19 commercial buildings assessed (6 affected, 9 had minor damage, 4 had major damage)
  • 1650 citizens submitted damage reports which is not just homes but also sheds, roads, trees down, flooding/drainage issues, fences, boats, cars, etc.

Approximately 1,400 homes were assessed of which:

  • 786 were affected (some sort of minor damage – still livable, like shingles missing or cosmetic damage)
  • 468 homes had minor damage  - water in home 3-18 inches, may have to replace sheetrock or window but still livable
  • 139 homes had major damage -  more than 18 inches of water, structural damage, damage will keep residents out of their home for more than 30 days
  • Six homes were destroyed – structure is total loss, permanently uninhabitable, not economically feasible to rebuild.

Gov. DeSantis Announces Individual Assistance For Northwest Florida Counties

Escambia County Receives Disaster Declaration For Individual Assistance

FEMA: Spend Disaster Funds Wisely

FEMA issued the following news release:

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – More than $17 million in federal assistance has been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help Alabama residents recover from the effects of Hurricane Sally. Assistance is tax-free and grants do not have to be repaid. However, FEMA urges you to use the funds quickly, wisely and only for disaster-related expenses. 

FEMA will send you a letter listing approved uses if you were awarded a grant, including:

  • home repairs (e.g., structure, water, septic and sewage systems)
  • rental assistance for a different place to live temporarily
  • repair or replacement of a damaged primary vehicle
  • uninsured out-of-pocket medical expenses for an injury caused by the disaster
  • repair or replacement of occupational specialized tools
  • necessary educational materials (e.g., computers, schoolbooks, supplies)
  • moving and storage expenses related to the disaster
  • other disaster-related expenses 

You may spend your FEMA grant in any way that helps you achieve the goal of permanent, safe, sanitary and functional housing. Remember to keep your receipts for verification of how you spent the disaster funds.

Rental assistance grants provide for temporary housing when a disaster leaves your home uninhabitable or inaccessible.                                                                                    

As a homeowner or renter, you can choose to rent an apartment, house, mobile home or some other temporary rental unit.

If you intend to seek continued rental assistance, you will need receipts to show you used the grant for rent.

Disaster grants are not for regular living expenses, such as utilities, food, medical or dental bills not related to the disaster, travel, entertainment or any discretionary expense not related to the disaster.

It is important to remember that federal law prohibits duplicating federal grants from other sources. FEMA also encourages you to keep your receipts for three years to show how you spent funds.

When you get a letter from FEMA, read it carefully. If you have any questions, call the FEMA Helpline, 800-621-3362. TTY users can call 800-462-7585 6 a.m. to midnight central time, seven days a week.

For the latest information on Hurricane Sally, visit https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4563

Urban Forest Teams Survey Damaged Trees in Escambia County

City Parks Urban Forest Strike Teams are assessing Hurricane Sally tree damage in public parks throughout Escambia County and the City of Pensacola this week to help with recovery efforts related to tree removal and mitigation. 

The data will be shared with county and city officials to assist with FEMA reimbursement for removal or mitigation of the damaged trees. The crews have surveyed a total of 34 county parks and 100 city parks since Monday, Sept. 28, with 1,043 tree hazards identified. Crews will continue their assessments through Saturday, Oct. 3.

Oct. 1

ECAT bus to Gulf Breeze announced

Beginning Monday, ECAT will launch bus Route 20 to help transport passengers between Escambia County and the City of Gulf Breeze.

ECAT bus fares remain suspended, ECAT officials said in a Thursday news release.

Please see the detailed schedule which starts from the Pensacola Bay Center Park and Ride lot, located at 121 E. Gregory St., at 5:50 a.m. and ends at Tiger Point Community Center, located at 1370 Tiger Park Lane, with the last stop at 8:50 p.m.

The route from Gulf Breeze starts at Tiger Point Community Center at 6:05 a.m. and ends at the Pensacola Bay Center at 8:20 p.m. Buses will arrive every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour at the starting location. The route is approximately 34 miles, and riders should expect a trip that is 45 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic.

Six months to repair Pensacola Bay Bridge

From the state department of transportation

After a multi-layer inspection and assessment by the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) statewide team of bridge experts, FDOT announced today, Thursday, October 1, that the recommended repairs to the damaged areas of the Pensacola Bay Bridge will take approximately six months to complete, weather permitting. Once repairs are complete, all four lanes will be open with no load restrictions and at the same condition as expected for new construction.

FDOT will be meeting with local leaders, chambers of commerce and others to communicate information and coordinate outreach efforts to the community and visitors beginning the week of Monday, October 5.

FDOT is actively exploring alternative transportation solutions to assist moving people and goods through the region and is also assisting local governments as they look to apply for emergency relief funds through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) regarding alternate transportation services.

FDOT and its partners have made the reopening of the Pensacola Bay Bridge a top priority with numerous efforts underway. The survey of the piers and topside inspections have been completed along with most of the underwater footings. Demolition is proceeding with a focus on two of the spans to allow for underwater inspection. The contractor has ordered two additional cranes to replace existing cranes that were damaged or lost to assist in the process. Two additional subcontractors are also on-site, mobilized from as far away as Baton Rouge, to increase on-site resources with additional equipment and 40 additional personnel to expedite demolition.

Three of the contractor’s barges remain on or under the structure and the removal of those barges will have to be done with great caution. The contractor has prioritized the removal of the barges and will work closely with FDOT to ensure the least amount of additional damage possible to the bridge in this effort. To date, the nine barges have been removed from the area including three from private property, three from the Bayou Texar region, two from Naval Air Station Pensacola and one near the Garcon Point Bridge. 

The design is underway for the permanent repairs and reestablishment of four lanes of traffic on the bridge with a focus on substructure repairs which includes the piers. Durability, and ensuring there is absolutely no reduction in the bridge’s strength as a result of the repairs, remains paramount in the design plans.

FDOT is assessing the final total number of the spans/piers that will ultimately need to be replaced. The contractor has already fabricated 25 beams and the piers needed to begin repairs. The contractor has also begun constructing more replacement beams and piers at its offsite yard and has reached out to other facilities to assist in production. This aggressive effort will allow the installation of these items to commence as soon as demolition of the damaged items are complete. 

Further preliminary inspection findings include:

To date, FDOT divers have inspected 202 underwater footings while top side inspection teams have assessed 105 spans, 202 piers and 525 beams.

The number of spans requiring full replacement remains at five and FDOT has identified an additional two that will require partial replacement.

FDOT will have to replace a number of beams and is still determining the specific number needing replacement.

Motorists should continue to use all available detour routes, which include the Garcon Point Bridge and State Road 87. At this time, tolls on the Garcon Point Bridge have been suspended through 6 a.m., Friday, October 23.

Details on the detour routes, including graphics, FAQs, and regular updates can be found online at fdot.gov/PensacolaBay. Members of the public wishing to receive these updates can choose to subscribe by providing their email address on this website as well. FDOT has also posted a video overview of the bridge that highlights the individual components inspectors are investigating.

FDOT understands the contractor has dispatched a community outreach team and insurance claim specialists to assist impacted property owners. The contractor has asked property owners impacted by Skanska’s barges or other equipment during Hurricane Sally to contact them at pensacola@skanska.com

Debris pickup for homeowners associations, subdivisions

From Santa Rosa County:

Santa Rosa County requires all homeowners associations representing private or gated subdivisions or roads execute a right of entry and hold harmless form before Hurricane Sally debris can be removed from those premises.

The right of entry/hold harmless form can be found online (https://bit.ly/2EVKSlW) and should be completed by an authorized representative and emailed to MalloryW@santarosa.fl.gov in the county attorney's office before debris haulers will be able to provide services to those neighborhoods. For questions, call the Santa Rosa County attorney's office, 850-983-1857.

1 p.m. 

DeSantis Announces FEMA Assistance For Santa Rosa County 

Curbside Residential Debris Pickup In Escambia

Escambia County residents, that can safely do so, are asked to place any storm-generated debris on the public right of way (the area of residential property that extends from the street to the sidewalk, ditch, utility pole or easement).

Commercial-generated waste will not be accepted.

Businesses should contact their waste collection service provider or a debris removal contractor. Business and commercial material is not eligible to be removed curbside by Escambia County.

Nonprofits are allowed to place debris on public right of way for pickup.

Debris that was generated by Hurricane Sally should be placed and sorted on the area immediately adjoining the road in front of your home. The county has divided its jurisdiction into three zones and contracted with three separate companies to accomplish the debris removal in 90 days.

Residents are urged to separate the debris as follows:

  • Vegetative Debris - whole trees and large limbs should be cut into lengths of four feet or less, tree stumps, tree branches, tree trunks and other leafy material
  • Construction and Demolition Debris - damaged components of buildings and structures such lumber and wood, wall board, glass, metal, roofing materials, tile, furnishings and fixtures
  • Appliances and White Goods - refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, heat pumps, ovens, ranges, washing machines, clothes dryers and water heaters
  • Electronic Waste - computers, televisions, office electronic equipment, etc.
  • Household Hazardous Waste - materials that are ignitable, reactive, toxic or corrosive such as paints, cleaners, pesticides, etc.
  • Only loose debris will be collected; bagged debris should not be placed on the public right of way. Make every attempt to avoid stacking debris below low hanging power or utility lines.

Do not place debris within four feet of:

  • Mailboxes
  • Water meters
  • Fire hydrants, or any other above-ground utility
  • Only debris placed on the public right of way will be eligible for collection until further notice.

Escambia County contractors will make multiple passes through neighborhoods and along county right-of-way for debris removal. If your debris is not removed during the first pass please be patient. The crews will make additional passes along your road. In addition, the county will notify residents well in advance of the last day to place debris on the right-of-way for county contractor collection.

As of Wednesday Escambia County contractors have collected over 500,000 cubic yards of debris and have cleared 16,114 hanging limbs and 711 leaning trees.

If you need assistance with debris cleanup, mucking, tarp installation and mold remediation, please contact Crisis Cleanup at 1-800-451-1954.

View information about City of Pensacola sanitation and debris pickup here.

View information about Emerald Coast Utilities Authority sanitation service here.  

In addition to curbside removal of debris for residents, residential drop off sites are accepting vegetative debris generated by Hurricane Sally. This is for private, residential use only, NO COMMERCIAL DEBRIS. Hurricane Sally debris drop off sites are open for Escambia County residents only and will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 a.m., until further notice. Residents need to bring ID and proof of residency.

View a map of drop off locations here or see below:

  • Baars Field, 13020 Sorrento Road
  • Escambia County Equestrian Center, 7750 Mobile Highway
  • John R. Jones Athletic Complex, 555 E. Nine Mile Road
  • Lexington Terrace, 900 S. Old Corry Field Road
  • Oak Grove Convenience Center, 745 County Road 99
  • Park East, Via De Luna Pensacola Beach

Storm Debris Burning Safety

Burning large debris left from a hurricane can be dangerous. Many residents open windows to get air circulation in their homes due to power outages, and burning large trees and limbs as well as other debris, creates large amounts of smoke which can travel into homes.

Burning insulation and roofing creates very toxic smoke.

Burning large trees and limbs and branches can also create sparks that go airborne and land on your home.

Burn laws are still in place before, during, and after a hurricane. Know your local burn ordinance.

Children should never be allowed to burn debris and should leave any type of burning to an adult. 

City of Pensacola residents are not permitted to burn leaves and/or grass clippings in the city limits. Read the City of Pensacola's outdoor fire ordinance here

Santa Rosa County Eligible for Additional FEMA Public Assistance

From FEMA:

Santa Rosa County is now eligible for additional FEMA Public Assistance grants for recovery from Hurricane Sally.

On Sept. 30, 2020, the major disaster declaration was amended to include reimbursement for all categories of Public Assistance, including debris removal and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged public facilities such as roads and bridges, water control facilities, buildings and equipment, utilities and parks. Previously, the county had been approved for emergency protective measures.

Escambia County previously was approved for all categories of Public Assistance. Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Okaloosa, Walton and Washington counties were approved for emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance.