Northeast Florida Officials: Monster Hurricane Irma Is No Matthew

Sep 8, 2017

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry spent some of Friday morning going door to door at an Arlington mobile home community. His message to residents: Get out of town or go to a shelter.

“Try to get out tomorrow afternoon if you can,” he told resident Randy Johnson, who had been unsure what local shelters would accept his dog, Dante, before Curry and Councilwoman Joyce Morgan handed him a list.

Hurricane Irma is expected to show its worst in the Jacksonville area late Sunday and early Monday. Officials are telling residents Hurricane Irma will have more widespread impacts than Hurricane Matthew did.

St. Johns County Administrator Michael Wanchick said residents remember last October’s Hurricane Matthew for its coastal erosion and inland flooding.

“There wasn’t a lot of wind associated with it, we had very little wind damage,” he said. “That is not the case in this particular situation.”

Jacksonville-based National Weather Service meteorologist Angie Enyedi preached the same message Friday morning.

“This is not a Matthew storm, so any parallels you have with Matthew, please do not go with them for Irma,” she said.

She said although there could be slightly less storm surge, Irma is expected to bring much more widespread damage across the peninsula.

“With Irma, given the westward track, we’re looking for these winds to spread further inland bringing more impacts such as more tree damage, more road debris and possibly more structural damage,” Enyedi said.

St. Johns, Clay, Duval and Nassau Counties have ordered mandatory evacuations. The full list, along with available shelters, can be found here.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.