St. Johns County lifts evacuation order for all zones after Ian exits Florida

St. Augustine conducting door-to-door assessments

St. Johns County Emergency Management (WJXT)

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – As of Friday shortly before 11 a.m., St. Johns County Emergency Management officials announced the county would be lifting evacuation orders for all zones after the county said officials were assessing storm damage from Ian’s aftermath.

Shelters will begin demobilizing and close at 3 p.m. Friday, according to officials.

Residents returning back to their homes were encouraged to drive with caution as isolated areas may still have standing waters causing roads to be impassable and may be restricted by emergency services.

Earlier Friday morning, officials were asking residents who evacuated for Hurricane Ian to wait before returning to their homes as officials work to assess the storm’s damage.

Officials said the county received significant impacts from Ian including numerous trees and powerlines down and flooding that has caused hazardous conditions.

Damage assessments started Friday as crews removed debris as quickly as possible. Residents are urged to remain patient as this process will take some time. Also, residents are urged to remain indoors as this process takes place.

For any St. Johns County residents or business owners who have storm-related structural damage from Hurricane Ian or permitting questions, you can call the St. Johns County Building Services Structural Hotline at (904) 827-6836.

St. Augustine going door-to-door

The St. Augustine Planning and Building Department is conducting door-to-door assessments to catalogue property damage to homes and businesses as a necessary first step in securing state and federal disaster relief funds in the wake of Hurricane Ian.

This initial assessment and inventory are also necessary for individual property owners to determine their eligibility for FEMA disaster relief funding now and in the future.

Teams of volunteers, directed by city employees, are currently going through each city neighborhood and business district and will be in the field until this critical task is completed.

The assessment is not an inspection of structures, but rather an overview of the extent of damage and to identify the location of visibly damaged structures.

As the city continues with the process, it is important for property owners to take action as soon as possible.  Here are five first steps:

  1. Call your insurance provider immediately regarding homeowners and flood policies and auto policies if vehicles were damaged.
  2. Visit the FEMA Website (https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4673) for general information on services and assistance or call FEMA at 800.621.3362 (711 or Video Relay Service. If you use TTY, call 800.462.7585).
  3. Determine what kind of assistance you may need at https://www.disasterassistance.gov/get-assistance/find-assistance.
  4. Learn about insurance and finance services and post-storm fraud warnings from the Florida Dept. of Financial Services, Division of Consumer Services by calling 877.693.5236 or visiting https://www.myfloridacfo.com/Division/Consumers/.
  5. Learn how to watch for and protect yourself from price-gouging by visiting the Florida Attorney General’s web site (http://bit.ly/2dZRQTL).

For questions about the building assessment process contact Richard “Buddy” Schauland at 904.209.4327 or send an email to planningandbuilding@citystaug.com with the subject “Hurricane Ian Assessment.”