WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (September 6, 2017)
– The City of West Palm Beach is actively preparing for the threat of Hurricane Irma. Currently, Hurricane Irma is a potentially catastrophic and very dangerous Category 5 storm. Forecasters predict, we will begin feeling the effects of Hurricane Irma in Palm Beach County on Saturday morning. Mayor Muoio and City emergency managers, urge all West Palm Beach residents and visitors to prepare now for potential effects of Hurricane Irma; monitor news and information coming out of the City; have enough food, water and emergency supplies to last for at least three days; and adhere to all City and County advisories, including potential evacuation orders.
“Hurricane Irma has the potential to cause catastrophic damage and widespread destruction in South Florida,” said Mayor Muoio. “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of preparing for this storm and following local advisories closely. If you are asked to evacuate, you must evacuate. ”
The City is not announcing any evacuations or curfews yet. We expect Palm Beach County, which operates local shelters with the American Red Cross, will announce shelter openings on Friday including the openings of shelters for individuals with special needs and pets. Individuals seeking shelter with pets or individuals with special needs must pre-register. The City urges all residents and visitors to familiarize themselves with local shelter locations. If activated, the primary shelter in the City of West Palm Beach is Forest Hill High School located at 6901 Parker Ave. To view a list of shelter locations and evacuation routes, visit: http://discover.pbcgov.org/publicsafety/dem/Publications/Shelters%20With%20Evac%20Zones.jpg
Earlier this week, the City activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Currently, the City’s EOC is operating at Level 3- enhanced activation. Mayor Muoio and West Palm Beach Fire Rescue (WPBFR) Asst. Chief, the City’s Emergency Management Director, anticipate full activation of the EOC on Thursday or Friday. Mayor Muoio is regularly participating in disaster preparedness phone calls with Florida Governor Rick Scott and state emergency planners. The Mayor and City emergency managers are also regularly in contact with the Palm Beach County EOC. City leaders are meeting regularly to prepare for the storm.
To ensure the safety of you and your family, don’t wait to prepare for possible impacts from Irma. Have a plan of action.
- Know Your Zone: Now is the time to familiarize with evacuation zones and routes should an evacuation order be issued for your community. Remember, if a hurricane threatens your community and you are told to evacuate, don’t hesitate—go early. To see which evacuation zone you live in, visit: http://www.pbcgov.com/knowurzone/
- Fully stock your hurricane supplies and have a disaster supply kit on hand: Make sure to have enough food, water and emergency supplies to last at least three days should a storm strike. Assemble your kit now. You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you. You will probably not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them.
- Complete a family communication plan: Discuss with your family and agree on ways to contact one another in the event of an emergency.
- Sign up for local alerts on your phone: Download Palm Beach County’s PBCDart and the City’s Code Red apps.
- The City may also share information via its Facebook and Twitter accounts and on the City government TV channel, WPB-TV. The City’s Twitter handle is: @westpalmbch. WPBPD’s Twitter handle is @WestPalmPD. WPBFR’s Twitter handle is: @wpbfire. Information may also be communicated via the city’s website at wpb.org/storm or through email. You can subscribe to City email updates and the Mayor’s newsletter here: http://wpb.org/News-Video/Newsletter.
- In the event of an emergency, dial 911. For non-emergency calls, call (561) 822-2222.
- The Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County asks all county residents to refrain from cutting down whole trees or doing major yard or construction projects until after the storm passes. Do not place any debris at the curb after a Hurricane Watch or Hurricane Warning is issued.
Here are some additional updates from the City of West Palm Beach:
- Closures: All City of West Palm Beach Community Centers will be closed beginning Thursday morning. All City offices and the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach will close should a State of Emergency be called.
- Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) budget meeting with the historic Northwest neighborhood, originally scheduled for Saturday, 10/9 at 1 pm will be rescheduled.
- Parks and Recreation after-school programs will be cancelled, beginning Thursday.
- Thursday’s ‘Clematis by Night’ and Friday’s ‘Screen on the Green’ will be cancelled
- Department of Procurement’s “West Palm Beach – Open for Business” originally scheduled for 9/7 at the Armory Arts Center will be rescheduled.
- Construction in the City: The City’s Building Division is making routine visits to local construction job sites, to remind contractors to secure cranes and to remove any equipment that could become a projectile. You may see a crane move in the wind, and they are designed to do that.
- City Parks: Parks staff are busy with storm shutters, sandbags, securing park equipment like picnic tables, soccer goals and playground equipment, etc.
- Yard Waste and Bulk Pick-up: Right now, the City’s Division of Sanitation is expediting yard waste and bulk pick-up. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, sanitation trucks will cover those days’ usual routes and, also, work ahead on some of the next day’s routes.
- From West Palm Beach Police Dept.: Don't wait until the last minute to evacuate. If you plan to go to a shelter, get there early, and bring some supplies with you. When the storm clears, don’t go exploring. Emergency Responders will be out doing damage assessment to include downed power lines etc. Wait until immediate dangers are cleared/secured by emergency personnel before venturing out. The Police Station is NOT an emergency shelter.
Updates from Other Agencies:
- Palm Beach County declared a State of Emergency effective 12:00am Wednesday, September 6.
- Florida Governor Scott directed FDOT to suspend tolls across Florida in preparation for Irma.
- All Palm Beach County Schools will be closed on Thursday, 9/7, and Friday, 9/8.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Where can I get sandbags? The City is not providing sandbags.
- What evacuation zone am I in? Visit Palm Beach County’s ‘Know Your Zone’ website: http://pbcgov.com/knowurzone/.
- When should I evacuate? Make a plan now. However, the storm’s track is changing frequently so keep apprised of local forecasts to be sure your plan will keep your family safe.
- I have pets. What shelter can I go to? Palm Beach County operates one pet-friendly shelter in Wellington. You must preregister. For additional information, contact Palm Beach County. 561.712.6400
- What shelters are available and when? What shelters can accommodate special needs? Palm Beach County operates emergency shelters. The City of West Palm Beach does not operate shelters. Any shelter related announcements will come from Palm Beach County. Individuals seeking shelter in a special needs shelter and must preregister with the County. Call 561.712.6400
- Can I park in City garages during the storm? This is currently being evaluated by the City, with an announcement to come soon.
- There is a tree that needs to be trimmed. Will the City come cut? No
- I have yard waste - will the city come pick up my stuff? The City’s Division of Sanitation is expediting yard waste and bulk pick-up. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, sanitation trucks will cover those days’ usual routes and, also, work ahead on some of the next day’s routes. This schedule is weather dependent.
- My yard waste day was today and there is still stuff in front of houses. Will there be an additional pickup? No? People need to secure existing debris."
- Where can I call for information if I don't have access to computer/websites? Install the City’s Code Red app or the Palm Beach County’s PBCDart app on your cell phone for updates from the City and County. Tune in to local radio and news, as the City will be sharing updates with local media.
- What will happen to the tall cranes downtown? The City’s Building Division is making construction site visits to meet with contractors to ask them to secure construction cranes.
Please visit the City of West Palm Beach website for updates and links to important hurricane information at http://www.wpb.org/storm