By Jane Smith
Delray Beach fared very well when Hurricane Matthew brushed by the coast on Thursday, said Mayor Cary Glickstein.
“There were no serious injuries or property damage, including our beach, and only minor power outages,” he said Friday. “Despite being lucky with a late inning wobble, the city was well prepared — both residents and business owners took the storm seriously.”
He and City Manager Don Cooper also commended city staff and public safety personnel for “an excellent job before, during and after the storm with no interruption in any essential city services.”
Early Friday, the National Hurricane Center discontinued Palm Beach County's hurricane warning.
Delray Beach staff spent the day preparing the city for regular operations. Its Emergency Operations Center was closed early Friday. The mandatory curfew from 6 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday also was lifted. City staff removed branches and trees that were blocking roadways or in the public right-of-way.
John Morgan, the city’s Environmental Services director, said water came over the city sea walls along the Intracoastal Waterway at high tide Thursday.
“A damage assessment team was out there looking at the sea walls to assess their structural integrity,” Morgan said Friday. He did not think the sea walls received more damage.
The city plans to increase the height of its sea walls and will urge nearby property owners to do the same when that project is started next year.
City staff is monitoring the forecast because the hurricane may loop back and “possibly hit us next week,” Morgan said.
“We will leave most of the city storm preparations in place until we have a better idea of what round two may look like,” Glickstein said Friday. “In any event, we're prepared.”
The quick path of the hurricane cleansed the dune plants, said Rob Baron, the city’s dune management consultant. “The plants are happier and will look remarkably better in just a few days,” Baron said Friday at the north end of the city’s beach.
He also said the beach’s high-water line receded 40 or 50 feet, meaning wave action created escarpments or steep slopes.
City facilities will reopen Monday, as will schools within the city limits.
The Downtown Roundabout trolley service began operating at 2 p.m. Friday. Parking was free Friday along the beach, although parking regulations were enforced in other parts of the downtown. Old School Square and Federspiel parking garages were reopened Friday.
Residents of the Municipal Marina were able to return home Friday, along with barrier island residents and others who were evacuated.
The city’s Municipal Golf Course reopened early Saturday.
Some helpful numbers to call:
- For after-hour utility emergencies, call the City's Water Treatment Plant at 243-7318.
- To report blocked roadways because of debris and/or damage to city facilities, call the Delray Beach Police Department non-emergency number at 243-7800.
- To report a power failure, call 800-468-8243.
- To report price gouging, call 866-966-7226.