Broward County mayor calls roadways 'unsafe,' asks for patience after Irma

Mayor says hurricane caused flooding, infrastructure damage, power outages

PLANTATION, Fla. – Broward County's mayor said Monday that Hurricane Irma caused major street flooding, damage to infrastructure, massive power outages and downed traffic lights.

"When we were in a line for a direct hit from this monstrous hit, we were bracing ourselves for the worst," Mayor Barbara Sharief said. "As residents, you did your job in preparing and protecting your family. Now I urge you to let the county's emergency recovery team do its job to ensure our community is safe before you resume your normal activity."

Sharief said the countywide curfew would be lifted at 10 a.m.

"But I can't emphasize enough how important it is to the recovery effort for residents to remain off the road," Sharief said.

She called the roadways "unsafe."

Residents are being asked to report flooded streets, blocked streets or construction debris damage to 311.

"Emergency responders are moving as quickly as possible to restore essential services," Sharief said. 

Sharief said the evacuation shelters "will be closed as quickly as possible" so that schools can reopen, "but not closed until we believe people are safe moving freely about their communities." She said transitional shelters will be established in their place to accommodate the several thousand people who may not be able to return to their homes.

The mayor warned of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning from generators and asked residents not to leave standing water that could lead to mosquitoes and the Zika virus. She also asked business owners to give their employees the time they need to recover from the storm.

"We are so resilient and I am confident we will mobilize quickly as a community to repair damage and move forward even better and stronger from the lessons learned," Sharief said.

Juliet Roulhac, of Florida Power & Light, said there have been many reports of power outages throughout the county, but she said they were expecting as much and it will be easier for crews to restore power because there weren't too many poles knocked down.

"The good news is that we did not see that many poles down, and that is because we did a lot of work in firming up our infrastructure," Roulhac said. "So that is going to mean a big difference when we try to get you restored, because we don't have to put poles back in."

Roulhac warned residents to stay away from downed power lines. She said the power lines may or may not be energized, but people should assume that they are. 

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