Hurricane Irma: Northeast Florida Can Expect Wind, Flooding, Tornadoes
On Saturday, Jacksonville-based National Weather Service meteorologist Angie Enyedi said although Hurricane Irma has shifted west, people in Northeast Florida should remember the storm is hundreds of miles in diameter.
“We are still within impacts from Irma,” Enyedi said. “Strong winds, widespread across the county. Again, not Matthew. It’s not going to stay just along the immediate coast.”
She said Jacksonville and surrounding areas can expect sustained winds of 40 to 60 mph. That could cause extensive tree, power line and some structural damage as well as a lot of debris on roadways, she said.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said, beginning Monday morning through midday, to expect oceanfront areas to experience 50 to 60 mph winds with gusts up to 80 mph. Downtown could experience 40 to 50 mph winds, and the St. Johns River could see gusts of 75 mph.
“I want people to stop and think about what that kind of speed means,” Curry said. “Even here on the low end of 40 mph, imagine something hitting you at 40 mph, and friends, this could go on for 12 hours.”
Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said Jacksonville’s major bridges, like the Hart, Matthews and Dames Point, will close when there is a sustained wind of 40 mph. He expects that to happen at some point Sunday for probably a 12-hour duration.
“When that occurs we will close the bridges in both directions,” Williams said. “Law enforcement will be at the bases of the bridges and will not allow anyone to cross.”
Enyedi said in addition to wind damage, flooding is likely across the county, with 10-to-15 inches of rain expected.
And storm surge could be up to 4 feet in oceanfront areas and 1-to-3 feet along St. Johns River.
Enyedi said Riverside, San Marco and parts of downtown are most at risk of river surge.
Jacksonville will also be under the threat of tornadoes starting as early at midday Sunday.