CHIPLEY - One month in the aftermath of the storm, streets appear to remain trimmed with vegetation debris and downed poles. However, county officials say it is a time to be vigilant and to be patient.
"We're on the heels of the third worst storm to ever hit the mainland U.S.," said Tray Hawkins, Chairman of the Washington County Board of County Commissioners. "It's just a trying time. We're doing something we've never did before."
"We just ask everyone to be patient and know that help is on the way," he added.
As of Tuesday, 330 cubic yards had been hauled. By Friday morning, officials estimated an additional 70-or-so yards had been added to that number.
The debris hauling process is still in its first pass through of the county.
Retired state trooper and lifelong county resident John Curlee stood under his carport Friday morning as tree limbs were being picked up from the sidewalk just outside of his white picket fence on Old Bonifay Road.
"I was not too bad compared to a lot of Chipley," he said then noting he had only four trees to fall at his property.
He, as many others, stayed home for the storm. Curlee said his insurance company responded quickly - as did the local utilities.
"I appreciate the response that our governor's office gave us - the Panhandle - and along with the FEMA and federal response, was excellent," Curlee said. Considering "the extent of the damage and the severity of the storm, I think that our county, state and federal agencies did an outstanding job."
"I'm very satisfied," concluded.
Officials said the best thing residents can do in order to expedite the process is separate vegetation debris from all others kinds, and to not stack piles beneath power lines. Officials also warned of stacking around fire hydrants, underground utility markers and telephone pedestals.
Hawkins said he is proud of the work the crews have completed and reminded residents to "use extreme caution on the roadways, be careful, stay safe and stay vigilant."