Mayor Curry on Hurricane Dorian: 'We dodged the big one'

Duval County evacuations lifted after storm

By Lauren Verno - Consumer investigative reporter, Steve Patrick - News4Jax digital managing editor, Nick Jones - Digital producer, Jim Turner

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Hurricane Dorian is moving away from Jacksonville, leaving a few marks, but seemingly no permanent scars.

Speaking to the public Wednesday evening, Mayor Lenny Curry announced the evacuation order would be lifted at 7 p.m., also saying the ban on alcohol sales at the beaches would be rescinded.

Curry acknowledged Dorian was an unpredictable storm and said difficult decisions had to be made, but he stood by those decisions.

"I know there were a lot of people praying, a lot of people working. 'm incredibly grateful that we dodged the big one," Curry said. "This could have been much worse. I urge citizens to remain vigilant. Hurricane season lasts until November and we must remain prepared."

Curry said lifeguards will return to the beaches Thursday, but people were urged to stay out of the ocean. Angie Enyedi with the National Weather Service said dangerous rip currents will continue to be a hazard into Thursday.

All city and county offices will reopen on Thursday.

In Florida, Dorian caused at least 150,000 power outages across the state. As of late Thursday evening, JEA's outage map only showed a few hundred outages.

"All 2,000 employees that worked together to produce such a remarkable result," said JEA CEO Aaron Zahn.

Public schools

Duval County schools would remain closed for students on Thursday. Dr. Diana Greene, the school superintendent, said school personnel will spend the day cleaning up to ensure everything is in order to open Friday.

"On Friday, we will be back to school as normal for students and teachers," Greene said. " All 12 month employees and essential personnel should plan to report to work tomorrow (Thursday)."

In the interest of player safety, there will be no football games played until next week. (Scroll down for details)

Transportation

Curry said JTA services would resume Thursday. All JTA services were suspended Tuesday afternoon, and shuttles to the evacuation centers stopped running at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Tolls will again be collected on the First Coast Expressway and the Interstate 295 express lanes in the Jacksonville area on Saturday.

Jacksonville International Airport tweeted just before 2 p.m. Wednesday that all remaining flights for the day had been canceled. The airport posted an update Thursday that all flight operations had resumed but warned that the storm might still affect flight paths and schedules.

Football games canceled

Some Duval County Public Schools football games have been canceled, while others were rescheduled:

  • All Thursday junior varsity football games are canceled.
  • Atlantic Coast vs. Ed White is moved to Oct. 4.
  • Baldwin vs. Westside is moved to Sep. 9.
  • Wolfson vs. NFEI is moved to Oct. 4.
  • Sandalwood vs. Ocala is postponed. No date was immediately set.
  • Fletcher vs. Terry Parker is canceled.
  • Mandarin vs. Deland is canceled.
  • First Coast vs. Heritage is canceled.

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