Tri-county emergency management officials promote new evacuation routes

Storm specialists encourage residents to 'know your zone'

By Joy Purdy - 5:30, 6:30 & 11 p.m. anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - You've heard the motto "be prepared" when it comes to a hurricane or tropical storm.  Now storm specialists want you to add a second motto to your storm season preparations: "Know your zone."

Friday, emergency management officials from Duval, Clay and St. Johns counties reminded residents of the new evacuation zones created to help keep them safe.

The officials said they've worked painstakingly on these new evacuation zones to be sure all residents have a way out before a storm rolls in.

EVACUATION ZONE MAPS:  Duval  |  Clay  |  St. Johns

Their biggest concern is storm surge, washing in waves of deadly water.

"Historically, hurricanes, storm surges and tides have killed thousands of people in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina," Warning Coordination Meteorologist Al Sandrik explained. "The local threat here [in Northeast Florida] is very real."

If you haven't done it yet, local emergency management officials strongly suggest you take a second look at your family storm plan.

To avoid any confusion when it comes time to get your family to safety, representatives from each of the big three local counties urge everyone to log onto their county's emergency management web page on line to be aware of new changes to evacuation zones. (We've provided links to those pages above.)

"I've lived in Duval County for 24 years of my life," Sandrik said, "and [the team] went into areas that I've never seen before or dreamed we would have a storm surge problem in."

The latest predictions by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, call for eight to 13 named storms in the Atlantic this year.

Three to six could become hurricanes, with one or two being major.

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