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Posted: January 02, 2018

Emergency management monitoring impact of winter system

Action News Jax


By Stephanie Brown

Jacksonville, FL —

As the temperatures continue to drop, local emergency management officials are closely watching where and when precipitation is also expected, to determine what impact this could have on you.

All government offices in Jacksonville will be closed to non-essential personnel Wednesday, with Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry saying they want to make every effort to keep people off the roads. The City is ready to respond with sand if there are icy roads, and the Florida Department of Transportation is monitoring bridges, but there’s no clear threshold for if there will need to be any closures.

In Baker County, Sheriff’s Office Captain Chris Volz- who’s over the Emergency Operations Division- says they’re on the edge of the forecast for freezing precipitation. If there is moisture on the road, there is a possibility that ice will build up, and more specifically black ice, which is hard for drivers to see.

“We’ve already been in contact with our road department to make sure that we can get precautionary measures out there,” Volz says.

He believes their bridges are most at risk for dangerous conditions.

The potential for ice is something being closely watched in Nassau County as well. Emergency Management Director Billy Estep says he’s concerned about ice on the Shave Bridge, although some of the worst weather is expected to be in the Hilliard area.

The Emergency Operations Center says they’re expecting sleeting rain under the current forecast. That could build on loose tree limbs, so you need to be careful, especially around areas that may not have been fully cleared since Hurricane Irma. There could also be buildup on power lines, so the EOC is warning about potential power losses, and urging you to make sure you use your generators safely.

EOC’s from across the region are joining in that message- whether a generator because the power goes out, or a space heater in the cold, they want you to closely read the instructions, ensure there is any ventilation needed, and don’t leave these devices unattended. They’re also urging you to bring your pets indoors, to make sure they stay safe through this system as well.

St. Johns County is saw some coastal flooding earlier today. While Emergency Management Deputy Director Jeff Alexander says tides are only a little higher than normal, there is some heavy wave action that could cause periods of flooding. St. Augustine says King Tide conditions are expected to last through Thursday- meaning areas of flooding that result from high tides and heavy winds.

They’re warning you to not walk or drive through flood waters. You should also use caution around manhole covers, which could become dislodged in flooding.

He says they’re also concerned about the impact wave action will have on coastal erosion. The US Army Corps of Engineers confirms to WOKV that a renourishment project along St. Augustine Beach has been put on hold for a few days becuase of the rough seas. The renourishment is in response to the standard natural cycle and recent hurricanes. They hope to resume work on Friday.

“I’m not sure how many people are going to the beach in this weather, but if you’re out there, be careful because of the surf,” Alexander says.

Clay County is currently expecting to be outside of the brunt of the impact in terms of precipitation, instead dealing mainly with cold temperatures. The EOC isn’t taking any action at this point based on that forecast, but they’re continually monitoring the situation and speaking with partner agencies, like the National Weather Service and Public Works.

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