JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As crews evaluated the damage and debris left behind by Elsa, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry on Wednesday night addressed the public, offering a reminder that it’s still very early in the hurricane season.
“We’re just outside of the July 4 holiday, and we’ve had our first storm, and unfortunately, we’ve had a fatality,” Curry said.
The mayor was referring to an incident in the Ortega neighborhood, where a man was killed when a tree branch fell and hit two vehicles.
“Now is the time to remember, we said it yesterday, we said last night, we said this morning that weather is unpredictable. Things can happen.”
Curry stressed the importance of families knowing their evacuation zone.
The National Weather Service said it began investigating reports of damage, debris and downed trees after its radar picked up tornadic activity over Jacksonville shortly after 5 p.m. Video of the tornado was posted to the Pratt Guys Facebook page.
JEA estimated that about 15,000 customers were without power at the height of the outages. By the 8 p.m. news conference, that number had been reduced to about 11,000. CEO Jay Stowe said crews would be working into the night, if necessary, to ensure power was restored as soon as possible.
“I do want to remind everybody that there are a lot of downed power lines, a lot of trees that are leaning right now,” Stowe said.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office asked as a precaution for residents to stay off the roads throughout the night, if possible, as to allow crews to continue clearing up debris.