No reentry to beach communities in Northeast Florida after Hurricane Matthew

People who were forced to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Northeast Florida will not be able to return to their homes immediately.

Duval County

Duval County officials said people will likely be unable to return to their homes at Neptune, Atlantic, and Jacksonville Beach on Saturday.

St. Johns County

Bridges to Barrier Islands in St. Johns County are closed, according to St. Augustine Police Department. Law enforcement and first responders will move into evacuation zones to assess conditions and protect private property.

St. Johns County officials said re-entry will not be allowed until Saturday at the earliest in order to ensure a safe and orderly re-entry onto the barrier islands.

The city of St. Augustine officials said work will start on Saturday to expedite the return of people who evacuated.

City officials expect some people and business owners will be able to return to their properties on the mainland on Saturday.

Anastasia Island will likely reopen Sunday or later, city officials said.

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Officials said people who evacuated the island should remember that even after they return home, it is unlikely that water, sewer service or power will be on.

It could be days before services are restored.

A full assessment of the integrity of utility infrastructure must be completed before they are restored, city officials said.

People should boil water for at least one minute for the first 48 hours after water is restored.

City officials are urging evacuees and people who sheltered in place to be careful of standing water hazards, debris obstructions, and domestic or wild animals.

Nassau County

Fernandina Beach police said bridges to the island will remain closed until wind speeds drop and the bridges and approaches are inspected by Florida Department of Transportation officials.

The Florida Department of Transportation will conduct a structural assessment of the Shave Bridge to and from the Island at 7 a.m. Saturday.  As soon as that assessment is completed, first responders will then conduct an assessment of damage on the Island, according to the Nassau County Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office said if there are only spotted power lines down or trees across roadways and no wide-spread damage and/or flooding, law enforcement will determine if and when it is safe for residents to return to the island.

The agency posted an update on their Facebook page:



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