JACKSONVILLE, Florida (WKRG) — Hurricane Irma is continuing to move towards Florida and even as the storm shifts and changes, Jacksonville Beach is preparing for the storm’s impact.
News 5’s Hayley Minogue and Photojournalist Jason Garcia were forced to evacuate their hotel on the beach this morning.
A mandatory evacuation is underway out on Jacksonville Beach zones A and B and with that comes hotels boarding up their windows and telling guests its time to check out.
Some people say they will stay out on the beach to ride out the storm. Once they’ve committed to staying they have to stay, because the bridges will close when the winds get close to 40 miles per hour.
Double red flags are flying out on Jacksonville beach and Lifeguards are doing what they can to keep people out of the water. But they’re also using it as a training experience for themselves, getting in there and seeing what it’s like to swim in these rough waters.
Lifeguard, Nicole Emerson said, “its unpredictable just like the storm. I feel like no one..people say know your limits. But I feel like no one knows their true limits cause mother nature is so unpredictable. Every wave is different. Every rip current is different. Being out there, its just a crazy feeling.”
Out of the water, people are continuing the process of boarding up their businesses including bar owner Bob Tilka. “We don’t know what to expect yet. It could be hairy it could be bad, were going to take all the precautions necessary. I’ve already noticed police at the bridges.”
Officials are saying over four million Floridians could lose power because of Hurricane Irma.