Neptune Beach resident knows importance of preparing for a storm

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – As Elsa continues on a likely collision course with Florida’s west coast, the storm is still expected to bring some wind gusts and heavy rain to parts of Northeast Florida.

Drive through a neighborhood in Neptune Beach and chances are you’ll come across a pile of tree debris alongside of someone’s driveway. Many people have been preparing in case of bad weather.

Mary Hulihan said she’s lived nearly her whole life in Neptune Beach. She’s been through her fair share of hurricanes.

“Dora in ’64 was the worst one we ever had,” Hulihan said.

As she clipped hedges Monday, crews trimmed the trees that surround her home.

Hulihan said she learned the hard way the importance of preparing after one of her trees toppled onto her roof.

“Two years ago we had to have a huge crane out here on the other side of the house,” she said. “It took them a day and they sent two crews out.”

Hulihan said she’s grateful she didn’t have to deal with a storm in 2020.

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Several customers at Proctor Ace Hardware in Neptune Beach told News4Jax on Monday night that they weren’t too concerned about Elsa, but agreed now is the time to prepare and buy the essentials. It’s something many of John Proctor’s customers have been doing.

“A lot of stuff you might not think about until you’re in a hurry,” Proctor said.

Gas cannisters, batteries and flashlights are just a few things to think about.

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Proctor said there are also kits to board up windows, and generators in case the power goes out. He said now is also the time to think about cleaning up after a storm passes.

“Things that aren’t available after a hurricane are rakes, trash bags, chainsaws, hand saws -- all of the stuff that you could think about that’s just repair,” he said.

About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.