JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- Experts said we are long overdue for Hurricane Dora-level devastation; a direct hit from a hurricane. It's been 48 years since Dora took a big bite out of our beaches.
It's raising concerns about hurricane readiness. The Weather Channel recently ranked Jacksonville in the top 10 cities most vulnerable for a hurricane.
"I've talked to a lot of people who say hurricanes don't come here," said UNF professor of ocean engineering Dr. Don Resio.
Resio studies hurricanes and storm surges in northeast Florida. He told Action News it's that very tendency to feel invincible to a direct hit that makes us most vulnerable. He also said strong systems move in shifts.
"Now it's time for them to shift back this way. They don't remain forever shifted away from here," said Resio.
When they arrive, Resio says much of northeast Florida that is only 40 feet above sea level could be under water.
"A lot of Jacksonville is built up in lower areas on the intracoastal waterways and beach ront over the years because we haven't had any major hurricanes," he said. "The entire beach area is susceptible to hurricanes, however we assume that it's not."
Our location on the hurricane evacuation route also makes us susceptible to disaster. In 1999, Hurricane Floyd backed up Jacksonville interstates as Floridians funneled through our city to reach safety.
"There were people going all over because of the hotels that weren't unavailable," said Doug Walker of Jacksonville. "They'd go north on I-95, cut over on 16, and I-10 was a parking lot for hours on end."
A recent study by The Weather Channel averages our evacuation time at a frightening 43 hours.
"I personally still think its not enough," said Resio.
He hopes news of Jacksonville's vulnerability prepares people to prevent the worst.