Leon County In Northern Florida Monitors Hurricane Irma

Sep 11, 2017
Originally published on September 11, 2017 8:19 am
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Let's go farther north in Florida, where Irma is still churning. Vincent Long is on the line, the Leon County administrator. And this is a county that includes the state capital, Tallahassee. And Vincent Long, I guess you're right along the Georgia border. Is that right?

VINCENT LONG: That's right, David. Thank you for having us. Can I say just at the outset here that even with everything that's happening here at the Leon County EOC, we are mindful that today is 9/11, and we're even more appreciative of our first-responders and more inspired in service to our community than ever. It's been a bumpy night here. And I'm sure many people in Leon County and Tallahassee didn't have their best night's sleep, however, the impact has not been as severe as we have been bracing for, but the strongest winds here are still ahead of us.

GREENE: Yeah. Well, I appreciate you noting the 16-year anniversary. I'm sure a lot of listeners thinking about that as well. So you said that it's not as severe as you expected. Are you breathing some sigh of relief that this wasn't quite as bad?

LONG: Well, some. As we said, you know, we've been tracking and closely monitoring the hurricane for about six days. And we were, as you probably know, initially planning to be a host community posture hosting many of our fellow Floridians from the south and east, but - and the - about 48 hours ago, of course we moved into more of a direct impact posture...

GREENE: Yeah. The forecast changed.

LONG: It has, and now given the back and forth of Irma, we are breathing a bit of a sigh of relief. However, we in our community, we have a particular vulnerability to winds, and we've had about six hours of sustained heavy winds with some tropical storm-force gusts. However, as I mentioned, our worst conditions are expected to be ahead of us with 40 to 50-mile-an-hour sustained winds between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. today with gusts of - potentially up to 70. We have - we have big oak trees and pine trees here in Leon County and, again, they're particularly susceptible to wind damage. And that's our - that's our big concern.

GREENE: And even if we're not talking about 150-mile-an-hour winds as we were in this storm, when you start pulling big trees like that around, it can certainly - certainly pose a risk, I can imagine. Vincent Long is the Leon County administrator from Leon County, Florida. That is - includes the capital, Tallahassee, and is up along the border with Georgia about to get hit by this storm in the coming hours. We'll be thinking about your community. Thanks for taking the time.

LONG: Thank you, David. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.