Winter Storm Update #7
New Information Highlighted
- Navarre Beach Causeway (SR 399 Bridge between Navarre and Navarre Beach) is open with hazards
- U.S. 90 is open with hazards between Escambia & Santa Rosa County
- The following roads and bridges are closed until further notice:
- I-10 is closed between, Scenic Highway (Mile Marker 17) and State Road 87 (Mile Marker 31) including Escambia Bay bridge. Traffic is being detoured via U.S. 90
- U.S. 98, Pensacola Bay Bridge is closed to all traffic.
- Tolls are suspended on the Garcon Point Bridge tolls. Motorists should slow down and use caution when approaching toll plazas, but should not stop. SunPass customers can be assured their accounts are not being charged.
- Ice on roadways will continue to be a safety issue throughout the day and evening on Wed., Jan 29.
- Santa Rosa County Emergency Management Officials are asking everyone to stay off the roads as there are dangerous conditions present throughout our county. If you choose to drive you are endangering yourself, other citizens and public safety agencies like first responders.
- Public works crews will access conditions at daylight and make decisions on when it will be safe to have their crews on the road. Most areas in the central and northern part of the county are too iced over to conduct safe operations in the dark.
- There are ice laden tree limbs falling in roadways and hanging low enough to hit vehicles. Driving will be very hazardous.
- Response times for public safety agencies will be delayed due to the frigid weather conditions. Not only do they have increased call volumes they must drive in the same deteriorated road conditions present throughout the county. They must also use extreme caution on the scene as ground conditions can cause fall injuries to responders.
Black Ice Safety
Black ice is an expected hazard today, Jan. 29. Black ice forms when the air temperature is warmer than pavement, which causes moisture to rapidly freeze and create a thin, transparent layer of ice on the roadway. It can be one of the most dangerous conditions on roads as it is invisible and can catch drivers off guard and at full speed, resulting in loss of vehicle control. Drivers can increase safety by observing the following tips:
- Be aware that black ice is almost invisible.
- Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and tunnels and in early morning when the air temperature is rising faster than the pavement temperature.
- Never brake while driving on ice. Applying pressure to your brakes while on ice will cause a vehicle to skid. Brake only during your approach.
- Keep your distance. The distance needed to stop on ice is twice as long as under normal driving circumstances. Keep at least a three-car distance from the vehicle directly in front of you.
Santa Rosa County residents who cannot maintain heat due to power outages or any other reasons are encouraged to call the Citizens Information Line at (850) 983- INFO (4636).
Gulf Power is reporting 195 outages impacting 3,517 customers in Santa Rosa County.
o An outage map is available at MyGulfPower.com.
o Escambia River Electric Cooperative – 0
Please do not call 9-1-1 to report power outages. Power outages should be reported to Gulf Power at 1-800-GU-Power (1-800-487-6937) or Escambia River Cooperative, Inc. at 1-877-OUT-EREC (1-877-688-3732).
Never touch a fallen power line, and assume all wires on the ground are electrically charged.
Cold Weather Shelters
- If the temperature cannot be maintained at your home, make temporary arrangements to stay elsewhere, including with friends and family. Two cold weather shelters for the homeless and those who are not able to maintain heat in their homes are available Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 6:30 p.m.:
- Ferris Hill Baptist Church located at 6848 Chaffin Street in Milton and
- Community of Christ Church located at 2111 Presidio Street in Navarre
- Shelters are for people who are homeless or heatless, can care for themselves, and are not at risk to themselves or others. No one will be admitted to the shelter that is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and are unable to walk unaided or are disoriented.
- Santa Rosa County Schools are closed Wednesday, Jan. 29, including before and after school activities.
- Santa Rosa County offices, the library system, the Jay Transfer Facility and the Central Landfill are closed Wednesday, Jan. 29.
- Courts in Santa Rosa County are closed Wednesday, Jan. 29.
- Santa Rosa Circuit Court:
- Wednesday – Detention and shelter hearings will be conducted in Escambia County by the Escambia County duty judge.
- Tuesday – Delinquency trials have been rescheduled to Friday
- Wednesday – Domestic Violence Injunctions – rescheduled to Thursday, Jan. 30.
- Judge Hilliard will be conducting 1st appearances at the jail the next day at 9 a.m.
- Individuals that may have hearings not included in the rescheduled listings above should call their attorney or their respective Clerk of Court for further information.
- Santa Rosa County Health Department is closed Wednesday, Jan. 29.
- The University of West Florida will close all campuses Wednesday, Jan. 29. Normal University operations, classes, events, campus activities and online courses will resume Thursday, Jan. 30, unless conditions change, in which case, University officials will notify all students, faculty and staff.
Residential students should remain within residence halls and limit outside trips to necessary activities. Please contact on-call duty residential staff if you have any questions. All essential personnel are asked to report to work.
- All Pensacola State College campuses and centers will remain closed on Wednesday, Jan. 29. The College will resume normal operations at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30. All classes that begin prior to 10 a.m. on Thursday are cancelled.
- The Natural Resources Damage Assessment meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28 at the Bay Center was rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 3.
- The Friends of the Navarre Library book sale scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 30 and Friday, Jan. 31 is canceled.
- The Navarre Pier will be closed Wednesday, Jan. 29.
- Gulf Islands National Seashore visitor centers in Florida and Mississippi are closed Wednesday, Jan. 29. The park and campgrounds remain open for public use.
- Waste Management has suspended collection service for Wednesday, Jan. 29 as an added safety precaution. Collection service will resume on Thursday, Jan. 30. Recycle and yard waste will be collected on Saturday, Feb. 1, and the Wednesday/Saturday Trash customers will receive on Saturday, Feb. 1.
- Allied Waste/ Republic Services will be picking up yard waste in Gulf Breeze on Saturday and running the regular schedule on Thursday and Friday in the City of Gulf Breeze. Customers in central and North Santa Rosa County will be serviced one day later than scheduled and the customers that we were not able to service today will be picked up early on Thursday.
- The Northwest Florida Water Management is closed Wednesday, Jan. 29 and is currently scheduled to re-open Thursday morning.
- The City of Milton is closed Wednesday, Jan. 29.
- Staffing at Gulf Breeze City Hall will be dependent on road conditions so normal services may not be available Wednesday, Jan. 29. Critical information will be posted to the City website if possible. Please use online payment or toll free 24 hour automated payment (855-246-7331) system for utility bills. No garbage collection on Wednesday, Jan. 29. Any missed residences will be collected and normal Thursday routes will be serviced. YARD WASTE COLLECTION IS RESCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY
- Naval Air Station Whiting ceased air operations on the base until noon Jan. 29.
- NAS Whiting Field personnel designated as non-essential are advised to depart at noon today and return to work at noon Wednesday.
- Training Air Wing FIVE non-essential personnel are advised to depart at noon and return to work at their normal time tomorrow unless otherwise notified.
- All base Morale Welfare and Recreation facilities will at noon Jan. 29 with the exception of the golf course, pro shop, and golf course snack bar which will reopen Jan. 30 at its normal time. This will include the Child Development Center; Fitness Center, Bowling Center, Liberty Center and other snack bars.
- The Navy Exchange Main Store, Bachelor’s Quarters Mini-Mart, and gas station will reopen Wednesday, Jan. 29, time to be announced, subject to weather conditions. The Whiting Pines Mini-Mart will close Jan 28 at 4:30 pm, and will reopen tomorrow, time to be announced, subject to weather conditions.
- The Branch Health Clinic will reopen at noon, Jan. 29. The clinic is processing all patient appointments currently booked within that period for rescheduling. Patients may call the Family Medicine Clinic at(850)-623-7551 or Military/Aviation Medicine at (850)-623-7152 to schedule appointments. Any patient requiring immediate assistance should call 911.
- The NAS Whiting Field Commissary will reopen at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 29.
Cold Weather Safety
- Citizens are urged to remember the five P’s of cold weather:
- Protect People: Remember to dress in layers and wear a hat and gloves. It is important to try to stay out of the wind and to stay dry. Also, remember to check on young children and the elderly family and neighbors who are the most sensitive to cold weather. If the temperature cannot be maintained at a home, make temporary arrangements to stay elsewhere, including with friends and family or at one of the cold weather shelters.
- Protect Pets: If cold weather is in the forecast, be sure to bring outdoor pets inside or give them a warm shelter to stay in.
- Protect Plants: Cover cold sensitive plants to protect them from the dangerous temperatures.
- Protect Pipes: Cover pipes and allow outdoor faucets to slowly drip to prevent from freezing and breaking.
- Practice Fire Safety: Use safe heating sources indoors. Do not use fuel-burning devices such as grills; they release carbon monoxide, which is a deadly gas. Also, make sure to use space heaters according to their instructions and be attentive to open flames. In the event of long-term power outages, be extremely careful when using generators, lanterns, gas powered appliances or when cooking on charcoal grills or gas grills. These appliances produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide which is a deadly, invisible and odorless gas that can cause poisoning in only a matter of minutes. Equipment or appliances that produce carbon monoxide should never be used indoors. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not stop carbon monoxide build-up.
Actions Taken by the County
In preparation for the low temperatures, Santa Rosa County has taken the following steps:
- A local state of emergency was enacted at noon Jan. 27. Declaring a local state of emergency allows the county to make formal requests to the state and FEMA for assistance if needed.
- The emergency operations center is at a level two, or partial activation with essential staff, until further notice.
- The Citizens Information Line is open. Citizens may call (850) 983-INFO (4636) with questions.
- The American Red Cross is on standby to open a public warming shelter if needed for any long-term power outages.