‘Enter at your own risk’: Flagler County officials warn beaches could be dangerous are after Ian

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – Flagler County officials said Thursday that the ocean water quality is fine, but advised residents to swim at their own risk because of potentially massive amounts of debris lurking under the water’s surface due to Ian’s destruction.

“Our primary job is to keep everyone safe, so we have to take this stance,” said Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord. “We know there is debris out there, and there may be for a while. We don’t want anyone to get hurt.”

Officials said the test results received Wednesday afternoon from Atlantic Ocean water quality test samples did not show elevated levels of targeted bacteria.

Florida Department of Health-Flagler Environmental Administrator John Bey referred to the test results as “surprisingly good news.”

“Our beach sampling that was performed on October 3 did not show elevated levels of enterococci bacteria at the 4 sites that were sampled,” Bey said. “We went through a few tide cycles from the time of the storm to when the beach was sampled so any likely elevated levels of bacteria could have cleared out. This is good news for Flagler County.”

Residents and visitors should also be aware that remaining dune walkovers may be structurally compromised.

Dune walkovers within Flagler Beach city limits are largely closed with the exception of South 3rd Street and South 5th Street to South 9th Street. To the north, walkovers are open from North 7th Street to North 9th Street, North 11th Street to North 14th Street, and North 17th Street.