2:45 update: Glynn County, the city of Brunswick and Jekyll Island will be begin allowing residents to return at 8 a.m. Thursday, according to a statement from the county.
The county warned that critical infrastructure is still fragile, and that there are limits to Georgia Power and other utilities.
“Due to the limitations of sanitary sewer, traffic control, and power there are hazards to public health that remain,” the statement said. “Glynn County will be rebuilding from this disaster for months to come.”
Original post: WAVERLY – Outside Glynn County’s secured borders, people wondered Wednesday when they’d be allowed to go back home, to go to work, to go to the doctor. But police and National Guardsmen’s vehicles blocked all the roads in, even the exits off I-95, turning most people away, except for workers who are helping the county recover from mass power outages, flooding and impassable roads from Tropical Storm Irma.
The lockdown, which officials say is necessary so crews can work undaunted by traffic on littered highways and streets, added a layer of uncertainty to already disrupted lives.
Jill Jernigan, who lives in also-battered Camden County, runs a real estate company in Glynn and hoped to assess the damage on her dozens of listings. More pressingly, she hoped she wouldn’t have trouble on the way to a radiation treatment appointment for breast cancer
“I’m assuming they won’t refuse medical treatment,” she said.
Whether Jernigan makes it or not Wednesday, she had plenty to deal with at home near the Glynn-Camden line. Flood waters rose to about a foot and a half in her marsh-side, two-story in the Waverly area during Irma.
She was still finding tiny fiddler crabs and lizards in the house days later and trying to deal with dead marsh reeds coating the ground throughout the neighborhood. Some neighbors got snakes in their houses.
Jernigan had to go to one neighbor’s place and politely retrieve a can of Zatarain's fish fry that escaped her outdoor cabinet.
“So much is affected,” she said. “It humbles you, takes you back to what’s important, food, water.”
She and neighbors are doing their best to go through the process, like they did with Hurricane Matthew last year, which wasn’t as severe here. In the process, they’re ignoring the foul, old fish smell carried in by the storm and keeping the raging mosquitoes and cockroaches off their skin.
Over on the Brantley-Glynn border, people schemed about back roads and sneaking in Glynn County. Others resigned to the authorities and turned around.
Buster Clark, who lives in Brantley and works as a site manager on the Brunswick port, was trying to get to work when the police stopped him.
"We'll have ships piling up on us," Clark said, parked outside the boarded-up Friendly Express gas station on the line.
But he called his company and found out there's no power at the port anyway, so he turned home to see if he could get any work done on the computer.
Juan Lopez, a 34-year-old who was hauling a trailer with roofing supplies, parked at the Friendly Express and wondered how he'd get his family home after a week away. They had been in Tennessee avoiding Irma.
Lopez was worried about his house and had no idea where they'd stay outside of Glynn County.
"That's why we're trying to get in, to see how bad it is," he said. "We'll wait till they let us in."
A moment later, a deputy walked over.
"We do roofing," Lopez said to the man, knowing how badly the county needs such workers after trees fell on countless houses.
The deputy checked his ID and announced: "Y'all can go."