Category: News

IRC Gov. Holds Press Conference on Hurricane Ian

four people standing to conduct a press conference
Left to Right: IRC Sheriff Eric Flowers, IRC Emergency Management Coordinator Ryan Lloyd and IR County Administrator Jason Brown
September 28th, 2022

Indian River County Local Government held a Press Conference on September 28th, 2022 at 2:30PM regarding Hurricane Ian and its’ impact on Indian River County, Florida.

The press conference included IRC Emergency Management Coordinator Ryan Lloyd, Indian River County Sheriff Eric Flowers and County Administrator Jason Brown.

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Lloyd said Indian River County will be under a Tropical Storm Warning until further notice. Indian River County is currently under a tornado watch until 5PM on September 28th, 2022. Indian River County had two tornado warnings on September 28th, prior to the press conference. One of those warnings was set to expire at the beginning of the press conference, at 2:30PM.

Lloyd said later in the afternoon, “strong tropical force winds” are expected in Indian River County. The wind gusts are expected to be between 35mph-45mph up to 70mph. He said it is also possible for Indian River County to have “Hurricane Force Winds” depending on what track Hurricane Ian takes after it makes landfall.

The winds are expected to start Wednesday September 28th, 2022 at 2PM and last into Thursday September 29th, 2022 at 9PM. Lloyd said the times are approximate and tornadoes “remain a significant threat.”

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Lloyd said Indian River County is expected to get another 2-4 inches of rain, through the end of the hurricane. Indian River County at the time of the press conference, had received 6-8 of rain.

The Indian River County Emergency Operations Center is at a Level 1 Activation.

The IRC Emergency Operations Center has brought in their partners in Law Enforcement, Fire Rescue Personnel, the Indian River County Health Department, Florida Power and Light along with the local amateur radio club. There are more that were not named at the press conference.

These groups were brought in to help the County prepare for any sort of issues that may arise as a result of Hurricane Ian.

The IRC Emergency Operations Center has its Emergency Information Center activated. Lloyd said it’s “designed so members of the public can call in with questions or concerns.” The Emergency Information Center is open until 5PM.

The phone number for the Emergency Information Center is 772-226-4000.

Currently Indian River County has three emergency shelters activated, with approximately 67 people sheltering in place, according to Lloyd.

Treasure Coast Elementary School is one of the shelters, open for those who have special needs. The address is 8955 85th Street, Sebastian, Florida 32958, also known as County Road 510

Liberty Magnet School is another one of the shelters. Liberty Magnet School’s address is 6850 81st Street, Vero Beach, Florida. Liberty Magnet is the pet friendly animal shelter.

The Freshman Learning Center at Vero Beach High School is also a shelter. The address for the Freshman Learning Center is 150 19th Street, Vero Beach, Florida 32960 as the General Population Shelter.

Indian River County Sheriff Eric Flowers spoke after Lloyd.

Sheriff Flowers said if you “do not have to go out today, if you do not have to go out tonight or into tomorrow, please avoid the roadways.” He said there are “localized areas” that currently have flooding in Indian River County. He again urged County residents to avoid being on the road unless you absolutely have to.

Sheriff Flowers acknowledged there is curiosity of what is going on during Hurricane Ian. He said the Indian River County Sheriff’s department will “try to put up” as much videos and things from the Sheriff’s Deputies, so residents can see what is going on.

Sheriff Flowers asked residents to “please stay inside” while the storm is going on. He said this to help ensure there are no additional injuries among County residents.

Sheriff Flowers after the press conference sent pictures to Indian River News of a massive pothole on 61st Street in the 6200 block. The images can be viewed below.

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Sheriff Flowers asked County residents to call 772-226-4000 for Hurricane related questions. Emergency calls should be directed to 911 for emergency related services. Emergency services will still be available for those who will need them. The non-emergency line with the Sheriff’s Department is still available for non-emergency related matters, for those who may need those services. Sheriff Flowers said he wants to keep the emergency lines open for those who need them.

Sheriff Flowers asked County residents to call the IRC Emergency Information Center at 772-226-4000 for Hurricane related questions. Emergency related calls should be directed to 911 for emergency related services. Emergency services will still be available for those who will need them. The non-emergency line with the Sheriff’s Department is still available for non-emergency related matters, for those who may need those services. Sheriff Flowers said he wants to keep the emergency lines open for those who need them.

Sheriff Flowers also addressed the topic of possible bridge closures in Indian River County. He referenced Facebook posts the Sheriff’s Department put out in relation to the possible bridge closures. Sheriff Flowers said the goal is to NOT close the bridges. He said there is ZERO intention of trapping anyone on the barrier island. Typically, in a normal storm tracking when a storm goes up the east coast, an evacuation is done. In the current situation, no evacuation orders have been issued. Sheriff Flowers said the best efforts will be made to keep the bridges open. Sheriff Flowers said if wind speeds got too high, the bridges may have to be closed temporarily. Sheriff Flowers does not want County Residents to worry over bridge closures and understands people get worried over them. Sheriff Flowers said he wants the public to know the best efforts will be made to keep the bridges open, as much and as long as they can be kept open.

Sheriff Flowers also spoke about scammers. He said “there are bad guys who take advantage of people during these times. People are under stress and they’re concerned, so they unfortunately get scammed.”

Sheriff Flowers said there are NO passes avaiable to cross bridges in the event of bridge closures. To reiterate to our Indian River News readers, there are NO, ZERO, NONE, such passes that exist.

Sheriff Flowers also said there is price gouging that happens during Hurricanes. He said those concerns should NOT be directed to local law enforcement, but rather to Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Hotline at 1-866-NO-SCAM (or 1-800-376-8255). Sheriff Flowers said the Florida Attorney General’s Office also has a No Scam app that can be downloaded as well on the phone app stores.

Sheriff Flowers at the end of his time speaking, urged County residents to be safe and to only go out if they absolutely have to.

County Administrator Jason Brown said the County is tropical storm force winds. He said the major threat with Hurricane Ian for Indian River County is the rain. Most of it receded around the time of the press conference.

Brown said the drainage seems to be working, but is currently overwhelmed with the amount of rain it’s been getting in certain areas.

Brown reminded County residents that wet ground can cause trees to fall, culverts to fail and potholes in the roads.

Brown reiterated what Flowers said about staying home. Brown said if anyone has to go out that they be careful and watch for potholes in the roads. He also said to have caution over standing water, since you won’t know what is under that standing water, including potholes.

Brown said the residents of Indian River County are “wise folks” and will use “good sense” in their decision making whether or not to go out during the storm.

Brown said there are “very minor power outages” in the County, when the press conference occurred.

Brown said if anyone in the County has a power outage, they can call 1-800-4-OUTAGE or report it on the Florida Power and Light (FPL) website or on the FPL app, with your address, which will help FPL get to those who have power outages.

Brown said there was a roadway issue is 61st Street had a culvert failure, between 58th avenue and 66th avenue. The road Brown was talking about has since been barricaded and will be repaired once the “storm recedes.”

Brown said post storm, flash flooding risk remains high late Thursday September 29th, 2022 to Friday morning September 30th, 2022.

Garbage pick up has been suspended for Wednesday September 28th and Thursday, September 29th. Garbage pickup will resume Friday, according to Brown.

Recycling collection will be suspended for the remainder of the week. Brown said recycling collection will resume Friday as well. For those who were supposed to get their recycling collected on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, it will be picked up on Friday or Saturday.

Monday October 3rd, 2022, normal operations will resume for garbage and recycling pickup. Landfill and convenience centers are expected to open at 12PM noon. Residents are asked to check posted notices for updates.

Brown said the beaches in Indian River County are closed. He discouraged anyone from swimming on the beaches in Indian River County at this time.

Brown reiterated the Citizen Hotline is 772-226-4000. Brown stressed residents please use that for questions about the hurricane, NOT for emergency calls. He said to NOT use 911 for Hurricane related questions.

County Administrator Jason Brown held a Q&A after everyone was finished speaking.

Brown said drainage systems are currently working at this time.

Brown said Indian River County does not have any sandbags to distribute to Indian River County Residents. He said the time for preparation has passed. He asked County residents to practice “good sense” and that the water should start receding as the “rain subsides.”

Brown stressed during the Q&A for residents to NOT drive through standing water.

Click here to watch the Press Conference on YouTube.

Click here to watch the Press Conference on Facebook.

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