JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and others spoke at a news conference Thursday, marking the first day of hurricane season. The appearance was focused on Duval County’s preparedness for potential storms.
The mayor said the city learned a lot from Hurricane Matthew. The city is still cleaning up some areas, such as city docks and parks, but Curry said Jacksonville is ready for this year’s hurricane season.
When Hurricane Matthew hit last year, the city was confronted with issues getting out the evacuation order. The city’s computer system crashed when a large volume of people went online to check out their evacuation zones. There was also concern that the head of JEA was out of town when many homes in the city lost power, and some sewage systems began overflowing, causing some major problems.
“Those were on a list things we need to look at -- when it’s being executed, to be sure that we minimize anything like that that could happen in a storm,” Curry said.
Hurricane Matthew taught the city a lot, Curry said. The city is still working on some repairs and hoping to get the majority of the money back from the federal government. But Curry said the repairs should not have any effect on this year's hurricane season. Curry said the city has money reserves and the ability to use them if need be.
“There were significant damage and major debris all around this large city, and we moved rapidly, very specifically on things that we had direct control over,” Curry said. “When you're talking about reimbursement, for example, we are working and will continue to work with FEMA.”
Curry said the biggest takeaway from Matthew is to know your evacuation zone. Click here to see a map of Jacksonville’s evacuation zones.