Schools and government offices will reopen Thursday, authorities said.

STUART - Mandatory evacuation orders were lifted for Martin County on Tuesday as services around the county gradually began to return to normal following Hurricane Dorian.


As Dorian slowly started a northward trek along the Florida coast as a Category 2 hurricane, forecast models showed the center of the storm remaining offshore.


"We feel very fortunate," Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said as he announced the lifting of the evacuation during a news conference Tuesday at the county’s Emergency Operations Center.


The county had issued the evacuation order Sunday for residents of Hutchinson Island, Jupiter Island and Sewall’s Point, as well as for residents in mobile homes and in low-lying areas. Shelters were also opened Sunday.


Martin County officials planned to keep the shelters open, but many of those staying in the shelters had left by Tuesday evening with the exception of those staying the special needs shelter, a county spokeswoman said.


With Dorian’s outer bands still expected to bring sporadic rain and wind gusts throughout the day, Snyder urged residents to remain indoors, if possible.


"Really, with just a sloppy weather day, if you don’t have to get out, probably this would be a good day to stay home and not get on the road," he said.


As deputies began surveying roadways, they found flooding in some areas. But there were no roadblocks and there were no reports of significant damage, sheriff’s Capt. John Perez said.


The Jensen Beach and Stuart Causeways are open.


The county experienced minor power outages Tuesday. According to the Florida Power & Light outage tracker, there were 544 customers in Martin County without power as of 3 p.m.


Water service has been restored to Hutchinson Island, county officials said. The service was shut off prior to the arrival of Dorian to protect the water system from damage. A boil-water notice is in effect for Hutchinson Island until further notice.


Martin County schools and government offices will reopen Thursday, county officials announced.


While the county was spared a direct hit, officials cautioned that residents should not become complacent in the event that another storm threatens the area.


"If you boarded up, you did the right thing," Snyder said. "If you left your home because you’re in a mandatory evacuation zone, you did the right thing."


In St. Lucie County, authorities planned to lift mandatory evacuations of the barrier islands, low-lying coastal areas and mobile homes by 5 p.m. Wednesday. However, residents and business owners would be allowed to return when they choose, a county spokesman said.


Residents in shelters were beginning to leave Tuesday afternoon, but the shelters will remain open until 6 a.m. Wednesday.


County public schools and government offices will resume normal operations on Thursday.


jwhigham@pbpost.com


@JuliusWhigham