Volusia County, FL – Update: The Volusia County Council held an emergency meeting on Wednesday where they unanimously approved a declaration of local emergency for Hurricane Matthew.
“This is not a drill, this is not something where we’re trying to exaggerate,” said County Manager Jim Dinneen at the beginning of the meeting. “This is one time where I can tell you… we are not exaggerating.” He went on to say he doesn’t want to have an accident or a tragedy that could have been avoided if people took the warnings seriously. He urged coastal residents to evacuate the area.
“We are looking at tropical storm conditions by midnight Thursday into 1 AM Friday,” said Jim Judge, Director of Volusia County Emergency Management. “We could have conditions as much as 90 mile an hour sustained winds along the coast with gusts up to 110 miles an hour. Of course with that there’s always the opportunity for tornadoes, microbursts, and mini swirls that go along with that.”
The Council voted unanimously, 6 to 0, to approve a declaration of local emergency.
The Council also encouraged people who live on the coast to evacuate, but they stressed that those who choose not to evacuate will not be arrested. “Some people think it’s a game, and this is not a game!” said Sheriff Ben Johnson. “This is something that is life threatening.” Johnson also encouraged people not to go wandering outside after the storm because it can still be dangerous.
Thursday’s regularly scheduled County Council meeting was cancelled.
Volusia County officials are putting the final touches on a local state of emergency that will go before the Volusia County Council for approval Thursday as Hurricane Matthew barrels north toward the Florida Atlantic coast. That declaration would help with coordination of resources if the storm leaves behind significant impacts here.
The county has also activated the Emergency Operations Center. It will partially activate 8 AM to 6 PM Wednesday. It will fully activate Thursday at 8 AM and then remain active for the duration of the storm and until conditions improve.
The Volusia County Citizen Information Center (CIC) is open and can be reached at 866-345-0345. The CIC will remain open Tuesday until 6 p.m. It will also be open Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, the CIC will open at 8 a.m. and remain open through Friday or until conditions
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