As Jacksonville prepares for the effects of Hurricane Dorian starting Tuesday night into Wednesday, Mayor Lenny Curry said residents who planned to evacuate should already be gone. And if you’re not, shelter in place.
“All storm preparations should be complete at this point. Stay off of the beach. Don’t drive around if you don’t have to,” Curry said. “This is not the time for sightseeing. There will be numerous roadway hazards and flooding and we want everyone to stay safe.”
He said as of Tuesday afternoon more than 500 evacuees were utilizing the city's 12 shelter locations.
National Weather Service meteorologist Angie Enyedi said Tuesday evening tropical storm-force winds are expected to arrive in the beaches shortly after midnight. The worst of Hurricane Dorian will be felt all day Wednesday, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. She said the high surf will be especially dangerous.
“Tomorrow 10-20 feet in some areas,” Enyedi said.
Sustained winds of 35-54 mph paired with strong wind gusts up to 65 mph are expected along the coast. Inland, all the way to the Westside, can expect sustained winds of 20-30 mph and 40 mph gusts, according to Enyedi.
The storm surge is expected to be highest along the coast, at up to five feet. But Enyedi does not expect to see the type of inland flooding that came with Hurricane Irma two years ago, with about 2-3 feet of storm surge expected in some areas.
Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said bridges will start closing when sustained wind speeds on a particular bridge are clocked at 40 mph for at least a minute. That will most likely happen Tuesday night.
As soon as weather permits, JEA crews will begin power restoration by prioritizing local hospitals, shelters, police stations and fire stations. Then JEA will tackle major circuits that restore power to most households.
“There will be power outages, this is still a substantial storm, and with the tree canopy of Jacksonville, we will have power outages, we want you to know that we are on top of it,” said JEA CEO Aaron Zahn
Starting Wednesday, Zahn said JEA will have approximately 500 power workers and line workers in the field at any given time as well as more than 400 water and wastewater workers in the field.
Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at email@example.com, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at@lindskilbride