As Irma looms, Jacksonville preps for Cat 1 wind, ‘unprecedented flooding’

Lenny Curry Irma

Friday morning saw Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry hold another of what will be an expanding series of Emergency Operations Center press briefings.

Announcements on Friday included mandatory evacuation of the beaches, trailer parks, and low-lying areas that comprise the city’s Evacuation Zones A and B (which contain 250,000 people) … following up a voluntary evacuation order earlier in the week.

Beyond that, the city has been in preparation mode: pre-positioning assets ranging from utility vehicles to generators and food and water for those who may need them in the storm’s wake.

Mayor Curry, in his morning briefing, noted the potential for “unprecedented flooding” from the storm, which could bring 10 to 15 inches of rain to the coast, with less rain inland.

“This is not a Matthew storm,” said a metereologist on hand from the National Weather Service.

As of Friday morning, Irma is expected to bring sustained winds of 60-70 MPH to Jacksonville, with 80 MPH gusts possible at the coast and on the river.

Those winds are a concern for city policymakers, especially regarding manufactured homes; to that end, Curry went through a neighborhood in Arlington Friday morning warning people in such structures to seek shelter space.

Accompanied by District Councilwoman Joyce Morgan, Curry shook hands with residents.

“We care for you,” Curry told one resident. “When we walk out of here, we’re going to hold hands and say a prayer for you.”

Mayor Curry may have another neighborhood awareness event Friday afternoon, but conditions are expected to deteriorate Saturday, as storm planning moves into another phase.

“By 8PM tomorrow night,” Curry said Friday, residents should be “in a secure place.”

That planning will include widespread electrical issues. Curry said that everyone should plan for power outages, given expected tropical storm force winds starting during daylight hours on Sunday.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski



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