Mayor Curry lifts evacuation order on beaches, turns attentions to schools, government employees

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said he is lifting the evacuation orders at noon on Saturday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry plans to lift the evacuation order on beaches at noon on Saturday.

The evacuation order was issued on Thursday afternoon in preparation for Hurricane Matthew. The storm caused heavy flooding on the streets of Jacksonville Beach, as surf surged past the shore and into the roadways.

Mayor Curry said "arteries" to the beaches are Atlantic Boulevard, Beach Boulevard and J. Turner Butler Boulevard. 

The Wonderwood Expressway will also be opening at noon, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said.

Gov. Rick Scott worked with the Florida Department of Transportation to allow access to the beaches after conversations with Curry.

"Please know when you get in, there will be flooding, damage and power outages," Mayor Curry said. "But again, it's important to us that we get you back home, so the evacuation order has been lifted today, effective noon."

With the evacuation order settled, Curry plans to now focus on government-related employees and schools. Duval County Schools posted on Facebook that it will make an announcement regarding school availability on Sunday afternoon.

"We will be assessing a whole series of things," Curry said. "One of which is schools. We don't have an answer yet [on openings], I'll be speaking to the school superintendent today. Schools and city employees - that's a function primarily of power."

JEA maintains that there is no set estimate for when power will be fully restored in Jacksonville. The utility company has told customers to prepare for multiple days of outages.


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