FWC urges boat owners to secure their vessels before storm hits

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) advises boat owners to secure their boats properly in advance of possible sustained heavy winds from Hurricane Irene.

Vessels that break free can cause problems to waterways by causing fuel and oil pollution, drifting into bridges, docks, seawalls and piers, and interfering with navigation.  In addition, the boats themselves can sustain damage.

Safety Tips for Today's Near-record Heat

Safety Tips for Today's Near-record Heat

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The heat is on.

Temperatures along the First Coast are expected to reach near-records today, according to First Coast News Meteorologist Steve Smith.

Dr. Petra Duran-Gehring works in the emergency room at Shands Jacksonville.  She said when the temperatures go up, people should use more caution because of the heat. 

"The big thing is stay indoors or stay where there's air conditioning," explained Dr. Duran-Gehring.  "You want to stay out of the heat as much as possible and if you are having to stay in the heat, then you want to stay hydrated."

Dr. Duran-Gehring said people who spend a lot of time outside are more at-risk for heat-related illnesses, even though they may feel as though they are used to the temperatures. 

Are Storm Surge Poles Reliable? Hurricane Experts Plan to Make Them More Accurate

Are Storm Surge Poles Reliable?  Hurricane Experts Plan to Make Them More Accurate

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  When a storm approaches, wind speed and water become concerns as a surge could cause the ocean and rivers to swell well beyond their banks.  

"There's an old adage, you can hide from the wind, but you have to run from the water," said Chief Martin Senterfitt, Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department.

MORE: Watching the Tropics

With so much water surrounding the River City, storm surge poles in different areas indicate how high the water could get during a storm.

Emergency officials said they aren't as accurate as once thought. "The National Weather Service National Hurricane Center is working to come up with a new labeling system," said Senterfitt.

MORE: Jacksonville Weather

What's the Coldest Spot in Jacksonville? It Began with a Friendly Bet

What's the Coldest Spot in Jacksonville? It Began with a Friendly Bet

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The coldest spot in Jacksonville wouldn't exist if it weren't for a game of cards 27 years ago.

"I had a bet with a friend in Tampa while we were playing cards," said David Bryant, also known as The Ice Man.

"He was in the ice business, and told me how tough it was and I said it can't be that hard to freeze water."

The Ice Man is also the name of his Westside business, an ice factory that's been churning out the frozen water for nearly three decades.

It's safe to say he probably won the bet. "Yes sir, I most certainly did," Bryant said laughing.

Considering the near triple digit heat today, and high heat index values, his factory seemed like the perfect place to spend the day.

"It's nice to work in the bagging room where it's 50 degrees all the time," he said, while standing in the deep freezer.

Lightning Video from Storm Yesterday Afternoon

Community member, Zoe Sieber emailed us this video taken yesterday afternoon from the Main Street Bridge.

Firestorm 2011 has a smoky choke-hold on area but relief on the way in the short and long-term!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Yes, it certainly was like a never-ending severe weather cut-in during last night's weather casts. I showed one plume of smoke after another and at one point a dozen new wildfires were being tracked per hour on live doppler radar. I have never seen anything like it. I have been tracking weather all over the country for about 20 years at different media outlets and on my own since I was 4 years old drawing weather maps. I usually love weather extremes but I have put fires and smoke on the list with ice storms as my least favorite weather to track and forecast. The main thing yesterday like every day is keeping people safe and sticking to the basics. I got word out on the wind direction that may threaten neighborhoods. Luckily there were no big wind shifts and evacuations were minimal. Good for people, but bad for our lungs as the air quality went into the unhealthy range for sensitive groups.