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Friday morning update on Hurricane Hermine

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Some shelters closing

By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

Some things gleaned from the morning conference call:

"It could have been much worse. There was no loss of life," said Levy County Commission Chair John Meeks of Bronson.

That sums it up as emergency management and county agencies set about helping residents recover from the effects of Hurricane Hermine. 

• The storm surge did not reach 11 feet, but it was measured at 8.5feet above mean sea level. Cedar Key is still experiencing flooding problems and entry is only being allowed to residents and recovery workers.

• Cedar Key's water and sewer system is not operational due to flooding. Water supplies are being sent out to the island town. Arrangements are also being made for feeding with the American Red Cross.  

• The state Department of Transportation has checked and cleared Bridge No. 4 at Cedar Key to allow crews to go in and assess damage. So reports can be expected soon. 

• The Chiefland and Bronson general population shelters are closing and folks are being moved to Williston High School cafetorium. The Bronson Special Needs shelter is remaining open. 

• Municipal officials were told to assess their buildings and check their insurance. The advice is good for homeowners. State officials have advised homeowners to take an inventory, including photo and video, and to be prompt in filing insurance claims.

• Sandbags, "when they get when they get saturated...that is a contaminated material that has to be disposed of properly," said Emergency Manager John MacDonald. He said they are not to be opened and dumped on the ground. A disposal locations) will be announced.

• While the municipalities of Bronson, Williston and Chiefland say there is power, there are widespread power outages in the county and CFEC and Duke crews are working, with the aid of out of area crews, to restore power.

• Residents are being asked to obtain supplies from stores that are open before expecting the government to provide them. John MacDonald said FEMA is coping with a number of emergencies at the same time, stretching resources.

"Just because we had a disaster and we're in the recovery process doesn't mean Levy County is going to foot that bill," MacDonald said. 

• If your well has been flooded do not use the water without sanitizing the well. The wellhead

• Officials would like you to stick close to home. One official said people are wandering around and some are driving around obstructions in the road and causing damage to property — like hitting utility meters. 

• Keep an eye out in your neighborhood, there was a report of someone driving up to a trailered boat on private property, hooking it up and driving off with it. 

• Williston officials reported the traffic light at SR 121 and US 41 is out. The city has power and the airport is ready to receive recovery supplies. Garbage will be picked up tomorrow.

• Chuefland officials report the roads are clear and their water and sewer systems are operating. And the city offered the use of its water buffalo to Cedar Key. 

• Fanning Springs officials reported, "We're pretty good," said Mayor Trip Lancaster. He said the power companies were aware of the issues they are facing with outages.

• Fowlers Bluff reported some power outages. Dr. Bob Mount said he did not think there was any major damage in the unincorporated area. And he said the water is receding "pretty rapidly."

• Inglis officials reported minimum to moderate wind damage with four trees down that have been taken care of. The commercial district has power.