The city of Jacksonville prepares for Hurricane Ian
Hurricane Ian could make its way through the First Coast later this week.
"There's no reason to panic. It's just time to get prepared," Mayor Lenny Curry said in an emergency briefing Monday evening.
Officials expect Duval County to start feeling the earliest effects of Ian late Wednesday, with the largest impact on Thursday. The biggest threat the city is preparing for is excessive rainfall, which has contributed to devastating floods in previous storms.
Moderate winds and the possibility of tornadoes are also in the forecast.
As of Monday evening, the Trout River area on the Northside, Downtown Jacksonville, and the Beaches communities were under tropical storm and storm surge watches.
"We don't have any plans at this moment to close city offices or departments," Curry said, but that could change.
Curry was joined in his briefing by Duval Schools Superintendent Diana Greene and JEA President Jay Stowe.
Duval Schools will have a regular school day Tuesday, and had already scheduled an early release for Wednesday, though students will potentially be released even earlier than the regular early release time.
"Tonight we will see how the storm progresses and make a decision by [Tuesday] afternoon as to what we will do for the rest of the week," Greene said.
JEA is preparing for the storm by having 2,000 employees, contractors and mutual aid crews from utilities across the country on standby to deal with power outages.
"We prepare for this annually, and over the last three or four days we have ramped up the emergency operation center, coordinating with the city to be sure that we're able to keep the power on as long as we can, and to support it whenever there is a problem," Stowe said. "Our lobby and call center will be open for anything you might need in the meantime."