JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After declaring a state of emergency for Duval County ahead of Hurricane Ian, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced Wednesday morning that based on the Category 4 storm’s current trajectory, he would not be issuing mandatory evacuation orders for the county.
Ian strengthened into a powerful Category 4 storm -- just two mph shy of a Category 5 -- overnight, but the track again shifted east. Ian made landfall Wednesday afternoon and should move across central Florida before emerging into the Atlantic on Thursday.
Curry said because the storm’s impact on Northeast Florida is unpredictable, he is encouraging anyone living in low-lying areas in Zones A & B to consider leaving if they flooded during Hurricane Irma.
“If I was in your situation, I would be making plans to move from those areas,” Curry said.
Curry also announced the opening of three additional shelters on Wednesday (more on that below) and said the city’s information line -- 904-630-CITY -- will be staffed 24 hours a day for the duration of the storm.
On Wednesday evening, Curry held an additional news conference, saying there was no plan for a curfew. He said the flooding and storm surge potential has risen because nor’easter conditions have developed sooner than expected.
Curry said people who experienced flooding from Hurricanes Matthew and Irma should consider evacuating. He said everyone should avoid traveling Thursday.
Curry announced the state of emergency at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. A state of emergency declaration allows the city to more easily allocate money and resources to protect lives and property.
According to Curry, Jacksonville Beach declared a state of emergency effective Monday night, Neptune Beach declared a state of emergency at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and Atlantic Beach will declare one at noon Wednesday.
With the track shifting to now be more parallel to the coast, emergency officials are anticipating at least a 3-foot storm surge at the beaches.
All Jacksonville city offices, except senior centers, closed to the public and nonessential personnel beginning at noon Wednesday. Senior centers will remained open until 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Garbage and recycling will operate on a normal schedule Wednesday. Garbage and recycling collections will then be suspended Thursday and Friday. The city said it will announce makeup days as the situation develops.
Those who need special care or assistance need to preregister at JaxReady.com. As for pets, they are accepted with proper paperwork. In Jacksonville, you don’t have to preregister them.
Here is a list of the shelters opening in Jacksonville at 5 p.m. Wednesday:
- LaVilla Middle School: 501 N Davis St, Jacksonville, FL 32202
- Landmark Middle School: 101 Kernan Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32225
- Atlantic Coast High School: 9735 R G Skinner Pkwy, Jacksonville, FL 32256
- The Legends Center: 5130 Soutel Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32208
Undersheriff Nick Burgos said the bridges have wind speed monitors on them and resources from the Sheriff’s Office will be deployed and ready to close the bridges if wind speeds reach a sustained 40 mph.
“If you have to go, go sooner than later because once those winds pick up and we have to shut those bridges down just for the sake of the community, we can’t open them up until that wind is below that safe zone,” Burgos said.
DCPS, UNF, JU, FSCJ canceling classes
As for classes, Duval County schools and district offices will be closed Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
There will be no sports or extracurricular activities until Oct. 3. Oct. 14, which was a weather day, will now be a class day. It will not be necessary to make up the second day based on the time already planned in the school calendar.
As for universities and colleges in Jacksonville, the University of North Florida is canceling all classes, including online classes, starting Wednesday through Saturday. University offices will be closed during this time. Activities and events scheduled on campus are also canceled. The University plans to resume normal operations on Sunday.
Jacksonville University is also closing its campus Wednesday through Friday.
All classes and activities on all Florida State College at Jacksonville campuses and centers are canceled Wednesday through Friday, including online classes. In addition, all faculty and administrative offices will also be closed Wednesday through Friday. Employees who are classified as essential personnel will be contacted by their supervisors to discuss work schedules. Classes will resume and all locations will reopen on Saturday, Oct. 1 at regularly scheduled times.
Meanwhile, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority halted operation of the St. Johns River Ferry following Tuesday’s last trip at approximately 9 p.m.
The ferry was relocated to a secure location at 7 a.m. Wednesday. JTA said it anticipates service restarting by Saturday, pending the outcome of the storm.
JTA announced other major changes on Wednesday.
*Status of Service
- JTA Bus Routes – OPEN until 8 p.m.
- St. Johns River Ferry - CLOSED
- ReadiRide – OPEN until 8 p.m.
- Express Select – OPEN until 8 p.m.
- Skyway – OPEN until 8 p.m.
- Paratransit – OPEN until 3 p.m.
- Administrative Offices – Closed at Noon.
- Skyway service will close at 8 p.m. Wednesday, and reopen Monday, Oct. 3.
- Service may be suspended earlier based on weather conditions.
Connexion & Connexion Plus paratransit
- Paratransit services continue to operate on regular schedules until 3 p.m. Wednesday.
- Return and life sustaining trips will take place after 3 p.m., as long as it is safe to do so.
- We anticipate service returning by mid-day Friday, following a Sunday schedule if weather permits.
- Those with special medical needs must register with the City of Jacksonville if evacuations are ordered, and you are in need of transportation to a shelter. Please call (904) 255-3172 for more info. Registration does NOT carry over year-to-year.
JTA Administrative Offices
JTA Administrative offices will close Wednesday at noon, reopening Monday, Oct. 3.
JTA Customer Service
JTA Customer Service remains open during normal business hours, 5:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. through Friday and 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Customer Service team at (904) 630-3100.
Duval County Courthouse closing
Due to the approach of Hurricane Ian, Chief Judge Mark Mahon has ordered that the Duval County Courthouse be closed beginning on Wednesday at noon. The courthouse will remain closed through Friday.
As a result, the Duval County Clerk of Courts announces that all its offices will be closed from noon Wednesday through the close of business on Friday. This includes both the Duval County Courthouse and the Clerk’s beaches branch at 1543 Atlantic Blvd.
All online foreclosure and tax deed auctions scheduled during the closure have been canceled.
Anyone who received a summons for jury service on Monday, Oct. 3, or Tuesday, Oct. 4, is advised to check on Sunday evening to determine whether their service is needed by calling 904-255-2212 or visiting www2.duvalclerk.com/jurygroups.
LET’S DRIVE JAX! participants who have a scheduled appointment or court appearance affected by this closure will be contacted by the Clerk’s Office with their new schedule once it is determined.
Due to the progression of Hurricane Ian, all Library locations will remain closed from noon today, Wednesday, September 28 through and including Saturday, October 1, 2022.
NAS Jacksonville closing
The Naval Air Station Jacksonville Commanding Officer is ordering the closure of NAS Jax to non-essential personnel beginning at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Based on inclement weather, all facilities aboard the station will remain closed through tomorrow and POSSIBLY Friday.
The Visitor Control Center (Pass and ID office) will remain open until 4 p.m. Wednesday. Yorktown (Main) Gate will be the only gate open Thursday.
Only mission essential personnel will have access to the station on Thursday after 4 p.m. until the installation returns to normal operations. This day will be considered days of administrative leave for all civilian personnel assigned to the station.
The NAS Jax Child Development Center and Youth Activities Center are closing at noon Wednesday. Parents are currently being notified. All Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities will be closed Thursday until the base is reopened.
The base galley will maintain normal working hours and serve all military and civilians personnel who remain on station for storm support based on weather conditions. The galley is still expected to transfer all operations to Dewey’s on Saturday, Oct. 1.
Only mission-essential Fleet Readiness Center Southeast personnel should report to work Thursday based on supervisor instructions.
Once the CO has determined that the installation is safe to the extent that basic services can be provided, and the City of Jacksonville Emergency Management has cleared the major roadways for re-entry, the installation will be opened to non-essential personnel.