How to share news tips, media
Readers can share tips and media with Record reporters before, during and after a storm by calling 819-3504. Send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org, or tag on social media with #staugustinerecord. Direct messages can also be sent through The Record’s Facebook page.
Government offices to close; evacuation decision expected before Saturday
All administrative offices for St. Johns County, the City of St. Augustine, and the City of St. Augustine Beach will be closed Friday. Operational decisions beyond Friday will be determined based on weather conditions by the end of the day Friday.
St. Johns County and the municipalities anticipate and are planning for a mandatory evacuation of barrier islands, low-lying areas, and waterfront properties. In anticipation of a mandatory evacuation, voluntary evacuations are encouraged at this time and shelter planning is in process. Should a mandatory evacuation occur and weather conditions warrant, water and sewer services may be suspended on the barrier islands to protect the integrity of the water system.
Announcements regarding a mandatory evacuation and shelter openings will be made prior to Saturday. Residents with questions regarding Hurricane Irma are encouraged to call the St. Johns County Emergency Operations hotline at 824-5550 or visit www.sjcfl.us/hurricane for more information.
Preparedness tips, info for SJC residents
An online version of the St. Johns County Hurricane Preparedness Guide as well as a number of links with other helpful information can be found at www.SJCemergencymanagement.org.
County activates Emergency Operations Center hotline
In response to Hurricane Irma, the St. Johns County Emergency Operations Center has opened a hotline — 904-824-5550 — for residents to call regarding County services, storm response, events and non-emergency storm-related information. The hotline will be available from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you have a life-threatening emergency, call 911. For additional Hurricane Irma-related information, visit www.sjcfl.us/hurricane.
County schools closed Friday, Monday
All schools in the St. Johns County School District will be closed Friday and Monday due to Hurricane Irma. Schools will operate as normal on Thursday and scheduled evening activities will take place. District administration is working with the County’s Emergency Operations Center and will provide additional updates as necessary at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us.
In addition to media outlets, St. Johns County residents looking for storm-related updates and weather advisories should keep an eye on the following sites:
County declares Local State of Emergency
In preparation for Hurricane Irma, the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners declared a Local State of Emergency at the Sept. 5 regular meeting. The declaration allows the County to access resources and assistance to prepare for an inclement weather event. St. Johns County Administration and Emergency Management Staff are carefully monitoring Hurricane Irma and are working with a variety of local and State agencies to prepare for its impacts. For more information, visit www.sjcfl.us/hurricane or call 904-824-5550.
Florida Attorney General activates Price Gouging Hotline
As Hurricane Irma’s projected track and growing strength spurred runs on water and long gas lines around St. Johns County and other parts of Florida this week, the Florida Attorney General’s office activated the Price Gouging Hotline to make sure businesses aren’t taking advantage of customers
Consumers who see massive price hikes in food, water, hotels, ice, gasoline, lumber and equipment for hurricane preparation compared to last week can call 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226) to report the business.
County, CoSA offer free sandbags
St. Johns County is providing free sandbags at six locations throughout the county for the public in preparation for Hurricane Irma. The sand and the bags will be provided free of charge. Residents must provide their own transportation and shovels, and will be responsible for filling their own bags. There is a maximum allocation of 20 bags per person. The sand and bags are available between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily throughout the duration of the inclement weather event. For additional information, call 824-5550.
• Windswept Acres Park, 5335 State Road A1A South.
• Sims Pit, 536 S. Holmes Blvd.
• Town of Hastings Town Hall, 6195 S. Main St., behind the building.
• Mills Field, 1805 Racetrack Rd., in the overflow parking area.
• Palm Valley, Under the Palm Valley Bridge on the east side of the Intracoastal Waterway.
• North Beach Park, 3721 Coastal Highway (at the walkover).
Starting Thursday, the City of St. Augustine will provide free sandbags beginning at 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Francis Field on West Castillo Drive for the public. The sand and the bags are free of charge and there is a limit of 20 bags per person. Members of the public must provide their own transportation and shovels, and are be responsible for filling their own bags. Vehicles should enter Francis Field from the west off Riberia Street and follow directions. The service will continue until the supply is depleted or the weather deteriorates until it is unsafe to do so. For additional information, call 904-825-1010.
7th Judicial Circuit courthouses to close Friday through Tuesday
Chief Judge Raul A. Zambrano has ordered the closure of all courthouses in the 7th Judicial Circuit, effective 5 p.m. on Thursday until 8 a.m. Wednesday. This closure includes Friday, Monday and Tuesday. Courthouses will reopen Wednesday, weather and facility conditions permitting.
The 7th Circuit includes Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia counties. This order affects the Kim C. Hammond Justice Center in Bunnell, the Putnam County Courthouse in Palatka, the Richard O. Watson Judicial Center in St. Augustine, the Volusia County Courthouse in DeLand, the S. James Foxman Justice Center in Daytona Beach and the two Volusia County Courthouse Annexes in Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach.
During this emergency, all court deadlines will be extended and all scheduled court hearings will be rescheduled when court resumes.
First Appearance hearings, including juvenile detention and shelter hearings, will be conducted Friday and Saturday mornings, Sept. 8 and Sept. 9, at 8:30 a.m. in all four counties. There will be no First Appearances or related proceedings on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday (Sept. 10-12).
Updates will also be posted at http://www.circuit7.org and via Twitter, @7thCircuitFL.
SAB cancels Monday Commission meeting
Monday’s scheduled St. Augustine Beach City Commission meeting and budget hearing at St. Augustine Beach City Hall have been canceled because of Hurricane Irma, according to the city’s website. The meetings will be rescheduled.
SJR State cancels classes
All St. Johns River State College campuses will be closed Friday and will remain closed until further notice. School officials will continue to monitor developments relating to Irma; updates will be relayed via the college website, email, text alerts and Facebook as these resources remain accessible.
Water Management District closes public lands
The St. Johns River Water Management District is closing all its public lands districtwide at 5 p.m. Thursday in advance of Hurricane Irma. The closure includes the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. Properties will remain closed for the public’s safety until further notice to allow district staff the opportunity to assess and clean up damage on properties. Groups with camping reservations will be notified by email.
For updates on district operations, visit www.sjrwmd.com.
Spanish Wine Festival cancelled
Organizers of the Spanish Wine Festival, scheduled for Sept. 8-10, announced Wednesday that the event has been cancelled. From an announcement on the festival’s website: “Due to the impending effects of Hurricane Irma, and upon the advice of the City of St. Augustine, this weekend’s events have been cancelled. After the storm has passed, every effort will be made to re-schedule each of the St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival events.” For details, visit www.spanishwinefestival.com.
FOY to close, Founders Day event cancelled
The Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park will close at noon Thursday until further notice. The park’s Founders Day event, slated for Saturday, is cancelled.
Ponte Vedra Auto Show rescheduled for Sept. 24
The Ponte Vedra Auto Show has been rescheduled for Sept. 24. Originally planned for Sunday, the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce has announced that because of the possibility of adverse weather conditions it is in all parties’ best interest to reschedule the annual event. The auto show will take place at the Nocatee Town Center starting at 9 a.m. and ending after the awards ceremony concludes at 3 p.m. For more details, visit www.PVAutoshow.com.
A reminder on prescriptions
Florida law requires providers to waive time restrictions on medication refills during an emergency.
“Emergency-preparedness prescription medication refills.—All health insurers, managed care organizations, and other entities that are licensed by the Office of Insurance Regulation and provide prescription medication coverage as part of a policy or contract shall waive time restrictions on prescription medication refills, which include suspension of electronic “refill too soon” edits to pharmacies, to enable insureds or subscribers to refill prescriptions in advance, if there are authorized refills remaining, and shall authorize payment to pharmacies for at least a 30-day supply of any prescription medication, regardless of the date upon which the prescription had most recently been filled by a pharmacist, when the following conditions occur:
(1) The person seeking the prescription medication refill resides in a county that:
(a) Is under a hurricane warning issued by the National Weather Service;
(b) Is declared to be under a state of emergency in an executive order issued by the Governor; or
(c) Has activated its emergency operations center and its emergency management plan.
(2) The prescription medication refill is requested within 30 days after the origination date of the conditions stated in this section or until such conditions are terminated by the issuing authority or no longer exist. The time period for the waiver of prescription medication refills may be extended in 15- or 30-day increments by emergency orders issued by the Office of Insurance Regulation.
This section does not excuse or exempt an insured or subscriber from compliance with all other terms of the policy or contract providing prescription medication coverage. This section takes effect July 1, 2006.”