Jacksonville beach communities on high alert as Hurricane Ian approaches, but some not worried

A SnapJAX user captured these strong waves and surf from the Jacksonville Beach Pier from the Nor’Easter and Hurricane Fiona passing on Friday. Could we see more this week?

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Jacksonville beaches communities are also on alert for the incoming storm.

The City of Jacksonville Beach is under a state of emergency as of Monday night. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said Tuesday Neptune and Atlantic Beaches won’t be far behind.

The Jacksonville Beach mayor told News4JAX the city is expecting strong winds, rain as well as the possibility of storm surges and flooding. Mayor Chris Hoffman said a nor’easter could also add to the rainfall.

But people News4JAX talked to on the Jacksonville Beach pier Tuesday said they’re not that worried about the storm.

For people on the east coast of Florida, like Joseph Mitchell, a hurricane approaching from the west isn’t a reason to panic.

“I’ve been here for two hurricanes. I’ve gotten through both of them,” Mitchell said.

Austin Evans and Kaylen McMullin, who live at the beaches also say they’re preparing but not worried.

Austin Evans/ Lives in Jacksonville Beach

“Just got to hunker down and drink a little bit and have a good time Hurricane party? Hurricane party all the way,” Evans said.

“Yeah, it’ll be fine. It’ll be okay. It’s not that big of a deal I don’t think,” McMullin said.

Hoffman said the freshwater flooding may be comparable to that of Irma in 2017.

“The coastal impacts weren’t as much but the impacts on the intercoastal side, as well as on the river, we saw downtown flooded quite a bit. So that’s, you know, kind of the current thought process,” Hoffman said.

She said the coastline has been built up since storms like Hurricane Matthew.

“Our dunes are much higher. Now they fully recovered from Matthew and are a few feet even higher than that,” Hoffman said.

The Jacksonville Beach Pier reopened in July after three years of construction. The pier was badly damaged by Matthew and Irma and was rebuilt with future storms in mind.

“It does go up in the last 300 feet so it is higher. But again, the expected impacts from what I’m hearing are more on your coastal and your inland waterways versus the coastline,” Hoffman said.

The Beaches mayors, police chiefs and city managers are planning to meet first thing Wednesday morning as they continue to prepare for Ian.

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