Hurricane Watch issued for South Florida counties, Duval preparing for storm

Hannah Lee

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Highlighted in pink are the counties under Hurricane Watch. NHC

A Hurricane Watch was just issued for South Florida, the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee, and Florida Bay, according to the National Hurricane Center’s recent update.

According to the NHC, a hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible in that area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the first winds and conditions of the hurricane impacts the area.

30 mph winds and higher are currently predicted to start hitting Jacksonville Saturday night. Category 3 winds will start hitting Jacksonville Sunday afternoon and will go continue through Monday. The eye of the storm is predicted to be off the coast of Jacksonville near 8 a.m. Monday morning.

While mandatory evacuations haven’t been issued yet, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry asked citizens yesterday in Zones A and B to evacuate now before traffic from South Florida gets here. To find more information about evacuation zones, click here.

Duval County is preparing for the storm with residents stocking up on water and fuel. For information on fuel shortages in the area, visit Gas Buddy.

Florida Governor Rick Scott urged all Florida residents to seek shelter and take the storm seriously in a press conference Thursday.

“It’s wider than our entire state and it could cause major and life-threatening impacts on both coasts – coast to coast,” Scott said.

Hurricane Irma has weakened, but only slightly. She now has winds of 175 mph. The NHC stated in the 11 a.m. update that the hurricane is most likely to maintain its current intensity and there are no obvious reasons why the hurricane would decrease strength until it hits landfall.

The storm has already hit many of the islands in the Caribbean, and at least 10 people have been reported dead. The hurricane left a trail of destruction throughout the islands as homes and buildings were destroyed and streets are completely flooded.

Spinnaker will continue to update as more information becomes available.

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