At Duval County emergency shelters like Landmark Middle School, evacuees began packing up Wednesday afternoon for return trips home after Hurricane Dorian looked set to pass by.
At Landmark Middle School, one of 12 emergency shelters in Duval County, evacuees began packing up Wednesday afternoon for return trips home after Hurricane Dorian looked set to pass by.
Landmark Middle School had a peak of 128 people who gathered in the gym and watched weather updates with relief as it became more clear they would be able to return to homes without fear of finding widespread damage.
Red Cross workers, who came from across the county to help staff the shelter, said there was a good vibe throughout the stay. One client brought a ukulele and lead sing-alongs. Nita Wells, who came from California to help the Red Cross with the shelter, said favorite song was based on “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” with a twist in the lyrics: “I’ve got a beautiful feeling, Dorian’s going away.”
“It was awesome,” said shelter worker Mary Walker, who came from Camden, New York. “It was very relaxed. It was very calm.”
Those who wanted to stay another night were welcome to do so.
Elsewhere in that part of Jacksonville, residents kept an eye on rising waters.
Alan Kimball helped his 89-year-old father evacuate his house along Greenfield Creek, which spilled over into the home’s backyard, submerging an area where lawn furniture overlooks the creek. Kimball’s father stayed with him during the storm at Kimball’s nearby home, in a neighborhood not far from the St. Johns River.
Kimball said Greenfield Creek probably got some water into his father’s house, but it wasn’t as bad as 2017 when storm surge from Hurricane Irma shoved a foot of water into the home.
“Irma was the worst,” he said.
His father has lived in the house for about 25 years. “He loves the water,” Kimball said.
But after three major storms in four years, his father might be ready to move.
“I think he’s made up his mind this time,” Kimball said.