Although it’s been 52 years since Jacksonville has seen a hurricane, city officials don't want residents to have a false sense of security.
Director of Duval County Emergency Management Steve Woodard was giving a tour of emergency headquarters downtown Wednesday, the first day of hurricane season.
On a monitor in a large conference room was a weather map showing Hurricane Floyd in 1996, a storm many people in Jacksonville evacuated for in 1999 at the direction of emergency experts.
The Emergency Operations Center is a safe place where officials and experts organize when disasters strike. And while they prepare for this hurricane season, Woodard says so should everyone else.
Jacksonville National Weather Service Meteorologist Scott Cordero remembers Hurricane Andrew’s strike on South Florida in 1992. He said it only takes one storm to devastate a community.
“Over a quarter million people were left homeless,” he said. “ ... There were only six storms during that particular year and the first storm of the season was a category five.”
He said residents should make emergency kits, plan for their pets, plan for the elderly and check their insurance coverage. He said people should also gather contact numbers of loved ones in a safe spot and have a place planned out to stay in the case of evacuation if possible.
A full preparedness guide with Jacksonville evacuation routes can be found online at Jaxready.com.
Next week hard copies will be available at public libraries, City Hall, Lowes, Walgreens and Waffle House.