Irma brought wind, power outages to Jackson County

JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Jackson County was expected to be one of hardest hit counties in northwest Florida following Hurricane Irma.

Winds were expected to reach speeds of up to 50 to 60 miles per hour. Gusts got up to about 50 miles per hour, but sustained winds were closer to 25 miles per hour.

Irma's projected heavy winds caused Jackson County Emergency officials to jump into action.

People who live in RVs, mobile homes, and low-lying areas were ordered to evacuate.

"My concern was when we start having wet ground, we start having these gusts, it'll knock trees over on trailers," Jackson County Emergency Management Director Rodney Andreasen said. "I've seen this during storms and people have been killed. I just don't want people killed. I just want to take that precaution and so we took that early."

Jackson County Emergency Management officials confirmed at least one mobile home was destroyed when a tree fell on top of it.

Those who evacuated their homes can return home. Officials just ask that you exercise caution.

The winds from Irma that hit Jackson County never reached a speed high enough to close any bridges.

Heavy winds could also hamper the efforts of first responders.

They can't take out heavy vehicles like ambulances and fire trucks when the sustained winds are more than 40 miles per hour.

"That's our policy and that's to keep everyone safe," Marianna Fire Chief Nicky Lovett said. "The trucks are very heavy, but we've all seen what the wind can do in tropical storm and hurricane type conditions."

While there were some power outages throughout the county, Andreasen said he's pleased with how Jackson County fared.

"I'm very impressed with all the people working in the shelters, the Red Cross," Andreasen said. "I'm extremely happy and impressed with the response we got from the churches, from the cities, from the personnel. I mean the outpouring of generosity was unbelievable and I can't tell you how overwhelmed I was."