Forecasters say super-cell moved through Jacksonville into St. Johns County on Saturday evening, causing new street flooding and wind damage that capped a three-day rain event that dropped up to 10 inches of rain across Northeast Florida.
National Weather Service meteorologist Angie Enyedi said penny-sized hail and hundreds of lightning strikes were reported Saturday night near the World Golf Village. An area of rotation indicating a possible tornado spotted on radar was tracked for nearly an hour, but Enyedi says no tornado touchdown has been confirmed.
There were reports of strong winds knocking trees and power lines down in St. John's County just west of St. Augustine. Enyedi says some streets in Jacksonville and St. Johns County were impassible and cars were flooded. There were also reports of some water seeping into homes on Jacksonville's Westside.
And after three days of almost continuous rain, Black Creek crested more than 3 feet above flood stage, but it began to slowly recede late Saturday.
"We're expecting light rain to be widespread tonight with pockets, isolated areas, of moderate rain," said Channel 4 Meteorologist Rebecca Barry late Saturday night. "As we approach dawn, a cold front begins moving through our area, bringing us more showers and possibly a thunderstorm or two before clearing in the afternoon hours."
My midnight Saturday, all Flood Warnings except for central Clay County were allowed to expire, although coastal flood advisories remain from Flagler to Glynn counties.
Climax of three-day storm
The rainfall was light most of Saturday, but about 6 p.m. a deluge slowly moved from Jacksonville's Westside, across the St. Johns River into Mandarin and St. Johns County during the evening.
During the day Saturday, the only Flood Warning was issued for the area immediately around Black Creek, where the waters were still rising Saturday, prompting Clay County Manager Stephanie Kopelousos to declare a state of emergency.
Meteorologist say the storm system was a classic Nor’easter developed Thursday over Florida and Georgia, with a strong area of high pressure to the north combined with low pressure off the east coast of Florida. The result was a nearly stationary swath of heavy rainfall that extended over extreme southeast Georgia and much of northeast Florida.
Large parts of Clay, Duval and St. Johns received 5 to 8 or more inches of rain over three days, and isolated areas may have surpassed 10 inches.
The runoff for the storms sent the north prong of Black Creek above 19 feet -- moderate flood stage.
The Red Cross opened a shelter at First Baptist Church of Middleburg, 2645 Blanding Blvd., for those needing to evacuate or unable to reach their homes.
Several roads around Middleburg and Green Cove Springs remained closed Saturday due to flooding. Clay County's Emergency Operations Center was activated and a phone bank was activated. Residents needing information may call 904-284-7703.
In Duval County, McCoys Creek Boulevard was closed form Kings to Stockton, and other roads in the area area were also closed all day Friday. There was also significant flooding in other Westside neighborhoods and some streets off Hood Road in Mandarin.
Saturday evenings rainfall prompted even more flooded roads and closings.
The Department of Transportation says one lane of Interstate 95 northbound just south of the Fuller Warren Bridge will be closed for emergency repairs to settling pavement caused by the wet conditions.
Duval County authorities said they were monitoring the flooding, but did not activated their Emergency Operations Center.
More than 8 inches of rain had fallen at two reporting stations in St. Augustine and one at World Golf Village by Saturday. While there were multiple road closings Friday morning, by afternoon, all St. Johns County roads were reported to be open, although there was still ponding on some roads.
Clay County Emergency Management reported that State Road 209 at 739B in Green Cove Springs and several small roads in Penny Farms were closed due to standing water. Water was up to the bottom of the Everett Avenue bridge over Black Creek, and Baxley Road and Banks Road were impassable on Friday.
Pacetti Road (pictured, right), a hard-pack road outside Green Cove Springs, was washed away by a creek that had overflowed its banks after the two-day rainfall event. The wash-out prevented about 100 residents from getting in or out of their neighborhood.
The Clay County was making self-service sandbags available at first stations in Middleburg, Green Cove Springs and Fleming Island. The city of Orange Park had sandbags available in the south parking lot of Town Hall.