Mayor: 'We are prepared' if hurricane threatens Jacksonville

Lenny Curry reflects on lessons learned from Hurricane Dorian

By Kelly Wiley - I-TEAM reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Addressing Hurricane Dorian's impact on the city, Mayor Lenny Curry shared his thoughts after witnessing some people disregard official warnings and enter the ocean as the storm swept Jacksonville's coast.

Curry and the National Weather Service warned people not to get in the water before and after the storm because of dangerous currents, and many did not heed the warning. The mayor said people who entered the ocean were not only risking their lives but also the lives of rescuers.

News4Jax asked Curry if people should be arrested for defying the order to stay out.

"I know law enforcement has not been historically inclined to do that," Curry said. "If they made the judgment to do that, I will support it."

Curry also reflected on the Bahamas, and the devastation the country has been dealing with since the Category 5 storm hit the island nation.

"I was recently, this summer, my kids visited those islands this summer," Curry said. "Seeing the effects and the impact is devastating."

While life along Florida's East Coast is returning to normal, the season's first hurricane, Hurricane Barry, highlighted issues with the website people use to check their evacuation zone in Duval County. The city's website, JaxReady, crashed during Hurricane Matthew in 2017.

City officials told News4Jax during a news conference in August that the website was fixed. However, the site crashed again after evacuation orders were issued for Hurricane Dorian.

Curry said the site was down for more than an hour because a firewall was put in place to prevent hackers.

"Every storm we are making adjustments. It was set up to prevent a hack," Curry said. "For sure this time, when I make an evacuation order, I guarantee it will have made that adjustment."

The mayor said if another storm threatens Jacksonville's coast, the city will be ready.

"We are prepared. We have past reserves. We have the resources we need to deal with prep and aftermath," Curry said. "We can spend the dollars to act while we wait on FEMA reimbursements."

Curry told News4Jax he feels city leaders made the best judgments with the information they had during Hurricane Dorian. The mayor said the city will be in discussions on how it can help people in the Bahamas recover.

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