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St. Johns County Barrier Islands Closed After Hurricane Mathew; Food, Water Offered

Residents in the city of St. Augustine can return home after evacuating ahead of Hurricane Matthew. Anastasia Island and other coastal areas of St. Johns County remain closed while crews assess damage there.  

The National Guard and first responders have been working those areas since late Friday night.

St. Johns County Administrator Michael Wanchick says billions of dollars in damage is expected, based on preliminary assessments.

“We understand, as the sheriff indicated, the desire to get back to your homes,” he said Saturday afternoon. “ We have people in shelters in less than desirable conditions, but those people are alive today because of those shelters. We’re being very careful as we reintroduce our citizens into these environments.”

He says it’s important for people to realize, when they return home they may not have power or water and sewer service, along with other public services, for quite some time.  

Wanchick says the coastline north of Vilano Beach, downtown St. Augustine, and the Summer Haven areas were the hardest hit.

State Road A1A remains intact through St. Johns County, and no deaths are being blamed on the storm there. A person was killed by a falling tree in Putnam County, Wanchick said.

While people remain without power or access to homes, St. Johns County is offering free food and water to people in need.

Two supply stations, at Pedro Menendez and Nease High Schools, opened Saturday at 1 p.m. and will remain open until 6 p.m.

Families can take up to two cases of water and a two-day supply of food, or six meals per person.

St. Johns County Fire and Rescue Captain Jeremy Robshaw said he doesn’t know exactly how long the supply will last, but the county is prepared to open additional points if they become necessary.

“We’re prepared for a lot of people,” Robshaw said. “As far as how many will actually be there, we really just don’t know. We’re set up and we’re prepared for whatever shows up.”

St. Johns County residents can receive texts with Hurricane Matthew relief and recovery efforts by texting “STJOHNSFL” to the number 8887777.

Follow reporter Ryan Benk who is in St. Augustine reporting on the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. This post will be updated.

Tweets by @RyanMichaelBenk