When it comes to bad weather, people in the Keys work to help each other

September 29 — As Hurricane Ian makes its way along the Florida panhandle, residents of Monroe County are assessing the damage in its wake. 

Kristen Livengood, Public Information Officer for Monroe County, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s been happening with Hurricane Ian. 

Downed trees and major flooding were a result of the storm. 

Livengood said, “It’s just really great to see how everyone comes together to help each other, especially at times like this.” 

Some places were affected worse than others. 

It’s important to remember — don’t play in any of the standing water and do not try to drive through it. The waters likely won’t start to recede until tomorrow. 

The general housing shelter closed today at noon. 

Livengood said, “I spoke to those of them who weren’t normal residents, they actually came in from their boats just to ride the storm out and make sure they were in a safe shelter for that. It definitely served its purpose and we’re glad that everyone had a safe spot and a safe structure to ride Hurricane Ian out.” 

At least a dozen vessels broke free in the storm. Some sank, while others drifted, resulting in the needs for people to come ashore. 

Livengood said, “Monroe County Marine Resources will be busy the next couple of weeks, assessing the boat damage, tracking down owners. Hopefully there’s not a lot of derelict boats, but we do have that derelict boat program in place.”

Monroe County Fire and Rescue is our right now for those who need help. 

Livengood said, “They go and help people even get their houses set up so that they would be safe. Steve Hudson, our fire chief, is very, very, very community oriented.” 

Indeed, the first thing he did was ask that a press release be put out to remind residents that fire and rescue are here to help. 

Livengood said, “They’re able to help remove the trees or the fallen branches and a lot of people actually got some water in their house from the storm, so if they need a washer or dryer moved out or anything like that, they’re happy to help. That is one of the good things about having this close-knit family and community that we do have.” 

Monroe County government offices are closed and the schools are closed, as well. 

The airport opened this morning at 7 a.m. 

Livengood said, “We actually at the airport got some water on the runway and some debris on the runway, so it took all of yesterday to actually get the runway cleared off and safe for flights again.” 

Bus routes are also opening back up. 

Livengood said, “The JGT bus that comes from Miami is fully operational today.” 

Monroe County will also be helping out neighbors in mainland Florida, as the storm passes through that area. 

Livengood said, “They just weren’t expecting the flooding that they got. Entire fire trucks and ambulances were head-deep in water. We’ll be up there to help our neighbors just like they come down to help us.”