Nassau County orders mandatory evacuations for Zones A, C & F

Two shelters have opened up for residents displaced by the evacuation orders

By Allyson Henning - Reporter, Zachery Lashway - Reporter/anchor, Corley Peel - Reporter

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. - Emergency managers in Nassau County have ordered mandatory evacuations for Zones A, C and F, starting Monday as Hurricane Dorian threatens Florida's east coast.

Two shelters will be opened:

A special-needs shelter at Hilliard Middle-Senior High School at 1 Flashes Avenue, Hilliard, FL 32046

A general population, pet-friendly shelter at Callahan Middle School at 450121 Old Dixie Highway, Callahan, FL 32011

The county said anyone living in low-lying areas, mobile homes or trailers may also utilize the shelters.

If you bring your pet to either shelter, you must provide your pet’s vaccination records, food and water. You will need a photo of you and your pet. Remember to bring your ID. You will also have to bring your own personal supplies.  

UNCUT: Nassau County leaders give update on preparations |
WATCH: Shelters in Nassau County open

Appy Acres in Hilliard will be accepting horses, small ruminants, etc. at their facility at 25101 County Road 121. According to Emergency Management, animal control will also have a livestock trailer with them at Hilliard Middle/Senior High School in case it’s needed for transport. Call 904-583-1321 or visit Appy Acres for more information.

Once an evacuation order had been given for your zone, emergency management officials recommend you gather your family, pets and supplies; secure your home; and go.

Zones A, C & F include Franklintown, American Beach, Amelia City, Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach, the Intracoastal, areas along the Back River and Nassau River and other low-lying areas throughout the county. Baptist Medical Center Nassau was also evacuated with patients being transferred to Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville.

To see exactly where your address appears with the evacuation zones overlay on the property appraiser's detailed Nassau County map, go to the maps website, click on "Map Layers" at the top of the page, check the Public Safety box and the Evacuation Zones box in the menu that pops up, then use the "Search By" feature to select "Address" and enter your street address. 

But not everyone is taking the evacuation orders to heart. News4Jax spoke with Rich Bille on Monday as he boarded up his cousin's home. Bille said the home was built in the '50s and has survived every hurricane that has come and gone since then. Some neighboring homes were damaged by hurricanes Matthew and Irma, but Bille's cousin's home escaped unscathed.

"I'm not really too worried about it," said Bille, who plans to shelter in place. "We've stayed for the last three or four (hurricanes) and, unless it's a guaranteed Category 3 or higher, we usually stay."

Besides, Bille said, his family has taken steps to prepare for the storm beyond drilling boards into the exterior to cover the windows. He said they have generators on hand in case they lose power and they've stockpiled plenty of water and dry food supplies.

  Tracking Dorian

The Nassau County Sheriff's Office said registered sex offenders and predators seeking shelter from Dorian can do so at the Nassau County Detention Center on Monday morning.

Nassau County Emergency Management said residents should expect longer than usual delays along State Road 200 when evacuating because of ongoing construction. In addition, Pages Dairy Road, as an alternate route, is prone to flooding along Lofton Creek. Residents should remain especially alert to all media, including @NassauEM.

According to the Nassau County Emergency Management, the First Coast Railroad has temporarily closed its Intracoastal bridge to remove rail cars from the island. The rail bridge, for railroad traffic only, is adjacent to the ICW Bridge. The closure has also temporarily blocked boat traffic on the Intracoastal waterway. First Coast Railroad officials say they will reopen the rail bridge early Monday afternoon, thus reopening boat traffic along the Intracoastal near the ICW Bridge. This process does not effect traffic on the ICW Bridge. First Coast Railroad officials say they will close the rail bridge should winds reach 35 mph, which would close boat traffic at the ICW Bridge, as well.

Hulin Reeves Jr. spent about three hours Sunday boarding up windows on his beachfront home in Fernandina Beach, getting it ready before he heads out of town ahead of the storm.  

'"We leave in the morning," said Reeves. "During the last storm, the two houses on the very end, they got demolished."

John Finley, who also lives in Fernandina Beach, said he will be evacuating.

"We’ve got the sandbags we put around the doors and we have took out and took everything up that may be flying or could injure somebody," Finley said. "So we took care of all that and the last thing we will do is we will pray and we will head off the island."

Nassau County schools will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Nassau County Emergency Operations Center began operating at Level 1, which is a full-scale activation, on Monday morning. 

If Dorian continues on its current forecast path, according to emergency management, Nassau County may see tropical storm-force winds beginning Tuesday night and continuing throughout the week. Residents are encouraged to closely monitor the Nassau EM Web page at http://www.nassaucountyfl.com/eoc, Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NassauEM/ and Twitter at @NassauEM for continuous updates.

Emergency management staff can be reached during normal business hours by calling 904-548-0900. More information can be found at nassaufl-em.com. If you haven't already, click here to sign up now for the Alert Nassau Citizen Alerts.

Below you'll find an infographic explaining the emergency operation center's activation levels:

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