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Locals, businesses clean up after flooding

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Hours of pouring rain Sunday night and Monday morning left many across the area underwater, and now that the rain has moved out, those affected by flooding are picking up the pieces especially by the beaches, where residents there were hardest hit.

Businesses like Servpro, who specialize in cleaning up flood and fire damage are also cleaning up and not just water but financially as well. 

Along Stanley Road, just off of Mayport Road, in Atlantic Beach, flooded apartment buildings line the road with water logged mattresses sitting in front of the apartments, a visible reminder of the greater damage inside.

Wet carpet and soaked belongings also lay piled up along Aquatic Drive, illustrating just how extensive the loss is in the area.

"I came home, I opened my front door, and there was water all throughout the house. My dogs were on the couch, one was crying, and I just started coming outside and checking on my neighbors and seeing what was going on," Atlantic Beach resident Tabitha Meshaw said.

Meshaw had just moved to Atlantic Beach from Tampa two weeks ago and said her family's material loss is devastating.

"We lost every memento that we had. Our carpet is all gone. Some stuff – we just moved here so our pictures weren't on the wall – we lost all that stuff. Our cars, both of our cars are gone. We have rental cars today," Meshaw said.

Across town on Stanley Road, Julie Crosier is still cleaning up at her apartment. The waters that flooded her home on Sunday are slowly receding with the help of pumps, though many of her belongings are also a total loss.

"It's been horrible, I mean, you know, we were lucky enough to get our furniture up off the floor, but we don't know what we've lost yet, because we haven't gotten through everything," Crosier said. "It's a terrifying feeling you know, not knowing what we're going to come home to but you can't control Mother Nature."

Crosier said she's pleased with the city's response, bringing in the pumps to help with the drainage but Meshaw said she's not so sure.

"My father-in-law has lived across the street for 17 years, and he said this area has never flooded. As a matter of fact, everybody on the street pretty much says it has to be what the city did for the drain system, because now the water isn't draining," Meshaw said.

The city of Atlantic Beach did not have a response on the drainage issues, but a commander with the police department did say that all roads are now passable, though localized flooding remains an issue.

As for Chandler St. Peter, who owns Servpro Jacksonville South and Arlington, received upwards of 20 calls in about 12 hours to help not only residents like Meshaw and Crosier, but a number of businesses as well.

"Were hearing a lot from residential but also businesses as well. Hotels, businesses downtown, Atlantic Beach had a lot of residential homes that got hit with a foot of water so a little bit of both," St. Peter said. "With this per se, it was a drain line from a roof that had leaked during the rain and all the rainwater came into the business. Flooded about 2,000 square feet of occupied space. We go in and we extract all the water, remove all the water and then remove all the baseboards to start the drying process."

A process he said that can often take three or four days to finish but is necessary to clear the water safely.

"Fans will blow all the moisture in the air and these dehumidifiers will remove that moisture from the air and drop it into the drums for floor drain and that's how we remove and dry the structure," St. Peter said.

It is a process that many flooded out businesses and residents will have to go through for the next few days as they try to salvage any items that weren't destroyed.

Many of the businesses like Servpro of Jacksonville South and Arlington are open 24/7 because these disasters can happen at any time.