JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mayor Lenny Curry has ordered 264,000 residents of evacuation Zones A, B and those in mobile homes and low-lying areas to leave their homes and find shelter by 8 p.m.
On Saturday afternoon, Curry urged people not to look at the path of Hurricane Irma shifting farther west and think Jacksonville is out of danger. He said the community could experience 12 continuous hours of winds of up to 70 or 80 mph. He said that unlike Hurricane Matthew last October, Irma could inflict widespread wind damage and more rainfall.
The city of Jacksonville ordered 13 shelters Friday in anticipation of Hurricane Irma. By midday Saturday, the Legends Center had reached capacity, but the other 12 shelters for the general population and special needs were only about 10 percent full.
General population shelters
- Landmark Middle School - 101 Kernan Blvd. N (pets allowed)
- Twin Lakes Elementary - 8000 Point Meadows Drive (no pets)
- Chimney Lakes Elementary - 9353 Staples Mill Driver (pets allowed)
- Mandarin Middle School 5100 Hood Road (pets allowed)
- Abess Park Elementary - 12371 Abess Blvd. (no pets)
- Oceanway Elementary - 1255 Gillespie Ave. (no pets)
- AT CAPACITY -- Legends Center - 5130 Soutel Drive (pets allowed)
- Andrew Robinson - 101 W. 12th Street (no pets)
- Arlington Middle School 8141 Lone Star Road (no pets)
Special needs shelters
- AT CAPACITY - Legends Center - 5130 Soutel Drive (pets allowed)
- Atlantic Coast High School - 9735 R.G. Skinner Pkwy. (pets allowed)
- Oceanway Middle School - 142 Oceanway Ave. (no pets)
- Enterprise Elementary - 8085 Old Middleburg Road (no pets)
While some shelters may offer food items, citizens are advised to bring snack to minimize food allergies, limited availability and other issues. Items to consider include:
- Photo ID and important documents
- Prescription medication
- Special dietary baby food and diapers
- Flashlight and batteries
- Folding chair
- Hygiene products
JTA is running fixed bus services though midnight Saturday, then expects to resume services on Tuesday. Customers requiring special needs transportation to a shelter should call 904-630-CITY. JTA “evacuation buses” are available to transport customers to designated shelters from Fletcher High School, Mayport Middle School and Jacksonville Beach Elementary.
Since Landmark is a pet-friendly shelter, Gwen Collins headed there shortly after it opened Friday morning.
"I live in Atlantic Beach and they told us to leave yesterday," Collins said. "I left this morning and I found a place where I can take my dog, so I’ll be here until everything is over."
American Red Cross staff and volunteers are working the shelters in Jacksonville, but they are not alone. Since most shelters are at schools, principals and other staff are helping as well.
"We are here to serve in any capacity that we can," Twin Lakes Elementary School principal Denise Robertson said. "Whatever the Red Cross needs for us to do, we are here to support them. That means we're setting up additional cots for families. If we're assisting with food services we are doing that. So again we're here to support the Red Cross."
The Salvation Army said their downtown shelter would be open for homeless needing safe shelter. The shelter is located at 900 W. Adams Street. The shelter, called the Tower's Center of Hope, will open as weather indicates and will remain open as long as needed.
The Jacksonville canteen mobile kitchen was dispatched to Houston to respond to Hurricane Harvey has returned to prepare for Irma.
Click here for a link to the Duval County Emergency Preparedness website.