Palm Coast declares state of local emergency after EF1 tornado

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PALM COAST, Fla. - Palm Coast Mayor Jon Netts declared a state of local emergency Monday afternoon as the community moves into recovery and rebuilding following the EF1 tornado that damaged at least 171 houses on Saturday evening.

The EF1 had winds as high as 110 mph and was 25 to 75 yards wide. The length of the tornado has yet to be determined.

Declaring a state of local emergency allows the city to apply for state and federal assistance, expedite permitting for construction and debris removal, and implement a system of trash and debris removal beyond the normal collection schedule.

It also allows the city to access state assistance for regulation and enforcement of licensing and worker's compensation insurance, and allows the city to access additional services and resources from Flagler County and state of Florida.

At this time the city is using all available resources to assist affected homeowners and property owners. They're (who is 'they'?) also receiving assistance from Flagler County Emergency Management, the Flagler County Sheriff's Office and the state.

The majority of damage assessment has been completed and the city is now in the recovery phase, officials said.

At least 171 houses were affected, with seven houses destroyed. About 22 of the homes suffered moderate damage and 142 houses were partially damaged.

On Monday a team was put in place at city offices to expedite permitting and inspections for affected properties.

Building inspectors, code officers, landscape architects, tree inspectors and arborists are also in the affected neighborhoods working one-on-one with homeowners to assist them, answer questions and help them get cleanup and repairs started, officials said.

In addition, representatives of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation are already in Palm Coast to work with the city to help protect residents from unlicensed contractors and unscrupulous business practices.

State officials are also working with local law enforcement to catch unlicensed contractors.

The Flagler County Sheriff's Office will continue its heavy law enforcement presence in the affected neighborhoods to protect citizens, homes and property, and to keep traffic flow moving in areas where there is still significant debris as residents and contractors are cleaning up and beginning repairs.

Debris Pickup Schedules

In the affected areas in the B, C and F sections of Palm Coast, the city will be working daily to pickup debris the residents pile up street side.

From Monday until it is no longer needed, there will be daily pickups by city crews and the city's contractor, Waste Pro.

If debris is not being picked up in a timely manner, please call the city's customer service number at 386-986-2360.

Donations and Volunteerism Coordination

Donations and volunteer efforts will be accepted for tornado victims.

Flagler County Volunteer Services is coordinating donations and people who want to volunteer in the recovery effort.

Please call Flagler County Volunteer Services at 386-597-2950 between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

For more information contact Cindi Lane, communications and marketing manager for the City of Palm Coast, at 386-986-3708.