Hurricane Irma is on track to hit Florida this weekend, and there is still time for Jacksonville and Duval County residents to prepare. The hurricane is still a Category 5 storm and has already wreaked havoc in the Caribbean. As it moves closer to Florida, it’s important to know which evacuation zone you are in and where shelters are located.
In addition to the evacuation maps below, you can click here to enter your address to find your evacuation zone.
The National Hurricane Center’s 5:00 p.m. AST Wednesday public advisory reports that the storm is still a Hurricane 5 storm, with the eye passing over the British and U.S. Virgin Islands. It is now 55 miles east-northeast from San Juan, Puerto Rico and still has sustained winds of 185 mph.
Governor Rick Scott declared a State of Emergency for all 67 counties in Florida, including Duval and other First Coast counties. Scott also activated 1,000 members of the Florida National Guard to help prepare for the storm. Another 6,000 members will be activated no later than Friday morning.
Evac Duval by Daniel S Levine on Scribd
Duval Public Schools have already cancelled classes for Friday, September 8 and Monday, September 11. There will be an early release on Thursday, September 7. All varsity football games for Thursday evening were also cancelled. Two junior varsity games (West Nassau @ Terry Parker and Yulee @ Sandalwood) were rescheduled for October.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry told residents to leave now if they can. Curry also declared a State of Emergency. Curry said there will be 12 shelters in case they are needed.
“I can’t stress the importance of this. This is a unique event with a storm facing the entire state. If you have the ability, please leave,” he said. “This storm is a monster and I recognize that people are running around and feeling some panic. Let’s calm down and go about our business or preparing.”
Sheriff Mike Williams noted that if there is a mandatory evacuation and you stay, you put yourself at risk because first responders may have trouble getting to your location. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office also said that the locations of the shelters will be announced on Friday.
The full list of shelters has not been announced and this post will be updated when it comes out. However, the Duval County Emergency Management’s JAX READY brochure lists the following seven shelters that are most likely to be open during a storm. Residents can only go to a shelter after it is announced that it’s open. You can call 630-CITY (2489) for information.
Here are the seven shelters most likely to be open:
The Legends Center
LaVilla School of the Arts
Landmark Middle School (pet friendly)
Oceanway Elementary School
Chaffee Trail Elementary School
Chimney Lakes Elementary School (pet friendly)
Atlantic Coast High School
Florida residents can use FloridaDisaster.org/GetAPlan to put together a hurricane plan for your family or your business.