Hurricane Irma live blog: Hernando County now eligible for FEMA assistance

Trump to Ft. Myers

Here's the latest information for Wednesday, Sept. 13:

9:22 p.m.: Hernando County officials warn of flooding along the Withlacoochee River, and residents that live along the river should be prepared to evacuate if necessary.

8:49 p.m.: Greater New Hope Anointed Ministries is feeding the community on Thursday, 11 a.m. at its location, 2104 Mud Lake Rd., Plant City.

8:43 p.m.: Hernando County officials warn residents that convenience centers cannot accept large storm debris. Instead, large debris should be disposed of at the Northwest Solid Waste Facility, 14450 Landfill Rd., Brooksville. The facility is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

8:37 p.m.: Contracted yard debris collection in Hillsborough County will start on Monday with no additional charge to residents.  Residents should have yard waste placed in piles along the right of way for collection by then.

8:34 p.m.: A statewide emergency order will provide an additional 90 days for insurance policyholders to supply information to their insurance company, prohibits insurance companies from canceling or non-renewing policies covering residential properties damaged by Hurricane Irma for at least 90 days and freezes any effort to increase insurance rates for 90 days.

7:30 p.m.: Residents along the floodplain of the Little Manatee and Upper Hillsborough rivers are urged to watch for rising water levels. County officials "strongly recommends residents evacuate immediately" and are asked to call 911 if they can't evacuate safely on their own.

6:33 p.m.: Pinellas County government offices will reopen for normal business hours on Thursday.

6:09 p.m.: Tampa Electric has restored power to 250,000 customers, surpassing their halfway point in restoration following Hurricane Irma. In total, 425,000 out of their 750,000 customers were without power. The utility expects all customers to have power by Sunday.

6:01 p.m.: Updated power outage numbers from Duke Energy:

  • Hernando - 3,617 without power; expected to be restored by Midnight on Sunday
  • Highlands - 48,871 without power; no estimated restoration time given
  • Hillsborough - 8 without power; expected to be restored by Midnight on Sunday
  • Pasco - 44,742 without power; expected to be restored by Midnight on Friday
  • Pinellas - 186,404 without power; expected to be restored by Midnight on Friday
  • Polk - 28,917 without power; expected to be restored by Midnight on Sunday

Here's drone video of Duke Energy crews repairing power lines along County Road 635 in Sebring:

5:56 p.m.: U.S. Highway 41 is closed in Alachua County near the Santa Fe River due to flooding.

5:02 p.m.: U.S. Highway 27 is closed in Alachua County near the Santa Fe River due to flooding.

4:43 p.m.: A group of kids in West Bradenton made peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and provided water to utility workers:

4:38 p.m.: If you picked up a sandbag in Pinellas County, here's what officials say you should do with it: 

For sandbags that did not come into contact with floodwaters:

  • Spread sand on lawns or landscape beds and recycle the bag or place it in your garbage.
  • Keep and store clean sandbags for preparation for future events.

For sandbags that have come into contact with floodwaters:

  • Bring used sandbags, separated from other waste, to the Pinellas County Solid Waste Disposal Facility, 3095 114th Ave. N., St. Petersburg. Residents can do so free of charge.

4:35 p.m.: A 7-year-old Lakeland girl has died of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning after a generator was being used inside her living room, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said.

4:21 p.m.: Hernando County is now eligible for FEMA assistance, which allows residents, businesses and local authorities access to federal recovery funds. Here's the full list of counties under the federal major disaster declaration following Hurricane Irma:

Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, DeSoto, Duval, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River,  Lake, Lee, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter and Volusia counties. 

4:14 p.m.: The City of Tampa is opening community assistance centers to help residents impacted by Hurricane Irma apply for FEMA assistance and city funding for home repair needs:

  • TMOB, 306 E. Jackson St., Daily (excluding weekends)
  • Hunt Center at Al Lopez Park, 4810 N. Himes Ave., 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday
  • David M Barksdale Center, 1801 N. Lincoln Ave., 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday
  • NFL Yet Center Jackson Heights Center, 3310 E. Lake Ave., 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday

4:11 p.m.: Milan and Lucille Yezic, an elderly couple from Sarasota County who were reported missing after evacuating during Hurricane Irma, were found safe in Venice, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said.

4:06 p.m.: The U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, which stretches from Jacksonville to Fort Myers, has created a disaster fraud task force. Those who suspect fraud, waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, or believe they have been the victim of fraud from a person or organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of disaster victims, should contact the National Disaster Fraud Hotline toll free at (866) 720-5721. The telephone line is staffed by a live operator 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also fax information to the center at (225) 334-4707, or email disaster@leo.gov

3:54 p.m.: St. Petersburg police warn that if residents are buying dryer (pigtails) electric cords to plug generators into their main electric panels to power their homes, this could energize the lines back to the main transformers and downed power lines and electrocute the power workers. Also, if power workers test lines before working on them, it will destroy home generators.

3:52 p.m.: Here are updated power outage numbers from Duke Energy:

  • Hernando - 3,693 without power; expected to be restored by Midnight on Sunday
  • Highlands - 53,238 without power; no estimated restoration time given
  • Hillsborough - 8 without power; expected to be restored by Midnight on Sunday
  • Pasco - 45, 688 without power; expected to be restored by Midnight on Friday
  • Pinellas - 190,346 without power; expected to be restored by Midnight on Friday
  • Polk - 29,528 without power; expected to be restored by Midnight on Sunday

3:15 p.m.: The City of St. Petersburg has opened three mobile charging stations, which are open until 6 p.m.:

  • Carter G. Woodson Museum
  • Shore Acres Recreation Center
  • Childs Park Recreation Center

3:10 p.m.: A FEMA Disaster Recovery Registration site is opening from 6-9 p.m. at 6090 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. The site will have power, multiple computers with internet access, charging stations and volunteers to assist residents with the registration process. Residents should bring the following:

  • Social security number
  • Income information
  • Contact information
  • Insurance information
  • Direct deposit information

3:09 p.m.: Cricket Wireless is offering two charging stations: North Shore Recreation Center in St. Petersburg (3-6 p.m.) and New Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, 2511 E. Columbus Dr., Tampa (3-7 p.m.).

3 p.m.: Sam's Club has reopened all Tamp Bay locations and is temporarily waiving membership requirements for areas impacted by Hurricane Irma:

  • Bradenton, 5300 30th St. E
  • Brandon, 2021 W. Brandon Blvd.
  • Brooksville, 13360 Cortez Blvd.
  • Clearwater, 2575 Gulf To Bay Blvd.
  • Lakeland, 3530 Lakeland Highlands Rd.
  • Lakeland, 4600 U.S. Highway 98 N
  • New Port Richey, 4330 US 19
  • Pinellas Park, 7001 Park Blvd.
  • Riverview, 10385 Big Bend Rd.
  • Sarasota, 300 N. Cattlemen Rd.
  • St. Petersburg, 1725 34th St. N.
  • Tampa, 15835 North Dale Mabry Hwy.
  • Tampa, 5135 South Dale Mabry Hwy.
  • Wesley Chapel, 27727 State Road 56

2:56 p.m.: HART has resumed regular weekday service.

2:55 p.m.: The Florida Highway Patrol warns that flooding may close I-75 at the Santa Fe River.

2:54 p.m.: The American Red Cross is opening a shelter at 5 p.m. at St. John's United Methodist Church and Preschool, 1800 Cypress Gardens Blvd., Winter Haven. Pets are not allowed. The Polk County Health Department, 1255 Brice Blvd., Bartow, is the only special needs shelter open.

2:42 p.m.: U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced they will speed up federal disaster assistance to Florida.

2:25 p.m.: Tampa International Airport says due to the Irma-related airport closure, parking fees from 8 p.m. Saturday thru 9 a.m. Tuesday are waived. For details, e-mail  parking@tampaairport.com.

12:30 p.m.: The Port of Palm Beach is reopened after the Coast Guard deems it safe.

12:26 p.m.: Company-owned Verizon stores are offering recharging stations open to anyone regardless of wireless provider. Stores will be open today until 7 p.m. include locations on Dale Mabry, New Tampa, Wesley Chapel, Citrus Park, Pinellas Park, Palm Harbor, Brandon, Brooksville, Plant City, Inverness, Lakeland South, Bradenton and Sarasota University. 

12:09 p.m.: HART has resumed regular weekday service operations, and full service including local and express routes will run Thursday. Currently, Wi-Fi is unavailable on buses. The TECO Line Streetcar System remains suspended until further notice.  

10:17 a.m. Five residents at a Florida nursing home that lost power for several days during Hurricane Irma have died, Broward County officials said Wednesday.

8:58 a.m. Many are tasked with picking up the pieces following Hurricane Irma. Here is one way to make ends meet: FEMA is a good option for those in need of some help to cover damage costs.

7:34 a.m. President Donald Trump tweeted he will travel to Florida to meet with the U.S. Coast Guard, FEMA and first responders.

6 a.m. Duke Energy outages (by county):

Citrus: 22,600 outages, 15,385 restored

Hernando: 5,567 outages, 3,790 restored

Highlands: 53,952 outages, 3,258 restored

Hillsborough: 12 outages, 8 restored

Pasco: 68,858 outages, 48,547 restored

Pinellas: 286,875 outages, 182,526 restored

Polk: 44,503 outages, 30,409 restored

5:00 a.m.: Port of Miami is deemed safe by the Coast Guard and has been reopened.

3:07 a.m. Pinellas County government offices will remain closed Wednesday because of power outages.

Photos: Irma's destructive path reaches from Florida to Georgia, Carolinas

Here's the latest information for Tuesday, Sept. 12.

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