Even as Irma bears down on the West Coast of Florida, the mammoth impacts of the storm are felt in the state’s Northeast corner.
On Sunday night, Jacksonville got ready for a night that is expected to bring 12 hours of tropical storm force winds, massive flooding of low-lying areas, and other impacts.
“I’m praying for the city, I’m praying for you,” said Mayor Lenny Curry Sunday evening at a briefing at the Emergency Operations Center.
“It’s going to get very real after 8 PM.” Curry said. “Be at home or in a shelter. Stay off the roads.”
Curry, who had friends and family who didn’t evacuate storm ravaged Key West, spoke out of concern and practicality.
“If a place doesn’t feel safe,” Curry said, “get to a shelter.”
40 to 60 MPH winds, over the course of 12 hours, will present impacts — tests of the city’s infrastructure, just 11 months after Matthew presented its own challenges that cost the city $50M — $27M of it is still pending FEMA reimbursement.
“This is a long time for the city to take a beating,” Curry said, as outer rainbands squalled in, the presage of torment to come.
Irma is to the west of Jacksonville; however, tropical storm force winds range 200 miles to the east of the eye.
Law enforcement will be out of the field during the height of the storm, powerless to deal with issues.
And bridges, soon enough, will close as the winds top 40 MPH.
Assessment of damage will come Monday, as winds die down after sunrise.
With that, the long night has begun.