JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry on Sunday morning urged Jacksonville residents to be prepared as the city is expected to feel the effects of Tropical Storm Ian in the coming days.
Ian, which is expected to become a hurricane late Sunday, was located about 265 miles south-southeast of Grand Cayman with significant wind and storm surge impacts expected in western Cuba on Sunday afternoon, but it is expected to make its way north and impact Florida by Tuesday.
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“If you’ve seen the most recent forecasts, it looks like we could be in the path. If you haven’t already, now’s the time to review this year’s Jax Ready guide,” Curry said in a video statement posted to Twitter.
Curry is referencing the city’s emergency preparedness guide, which can be found at JaxReady.com.
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“You’ll learn about evacuation routes, designated shelters and emergency preparedness resources in the community,” Curry said. “While we have been very fortunate compared to other parts of Florida, we can’t afford to be complacent or unprepared with any storm. Please take the time now to make a disaster plan for your family, including a communications plan.”
According to the JaxReady Emergency Preparedness Guide, with the St. John River and other waterways, Duval County is always at risk for flooding regardless of whether a tropical cyclone is affecting the area.
The guide said that flooding from the St. Johns River can be a significant threat. The National Weather Service of Jacksonville said Tropical Storm Ian will bring heavy rain and potential flooding to the Jacksonville area.
“That very heavy tropical rainfall occurs over a very short period of time, and over a very large area, so the water really doesn’t have anywhere to drain because it’s happening everywhere. That’s certainly what we’re looking at as being a possibility for us,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Angie Enyedi said.
Enyedi said the storm’s effects could lead to river flooding.
“St. Johns River is a unique river and it flows from south to north,” Enyedi said. “What can happen is the water levels from downtown Jacksonville going all the way towards Polacco. So, not only can we see trap tide cycles with a strong east wind kind of forcing that wind or that water to stay in the St. Johns River basin, but as we start to have increasing rainfall, and also any kind of strong south or wind component on the river that can cause additional water rises in some vulnerable areas along the St. Johns River basin all the way from downtown Jacksonville.”
Enyedi said people should consider all the hazards that come with tropical storms – compare them to what we’ve seen in previous storms – and prepare from there.