Hurricane Matthew prompts update to Clay County evacuation map

Emergency management officials say only changes are to Zone C along Black Creek

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. - Clay County has updated its evacuation map as a result of what officials learned following Hurricane Matthew. 

The new map shows that there's now a smaller number of people living in areas that would need to immediately evacuate during a hurricane. 

All the flood evacuation zones on the new evacuation map are the same as the previous map except for Zone C, which includes areas along Black Creek.

VIEW: New Clay County evacuation map

Clay County Emergency Management Director John Ward told News4Jax on Wednesday that Hurricane Matthew proved not everyone within that zone needed to evacuate.

“In Hurricane Matthew, I only needed folks along the main body of the Black Creek to evacuate because of the potential surge that we were going to get, but it was one very large zone. If I would have went to that zone to ask them to move, I didn’t need everybody else to move," Ward said. "So I broke that down to just folks along the main body of the creek, folks just outside of the area and then the north and the south Prongs needed for fresh water flooding."

Adam Hohrath lives along Black Creek, near the fork. Although his home is well above the creek, and he said he didn’t feel the need to evacuate during the October storm -- he concedes the water did get high.

“When Hurricane Matthew came through, the creek, that bulkhead is 12 feet down to the water, it came up another three feet after that so roughly 15 feet," said Hohrath, Zone C resident. “The boathouse next to me, his roof was totally under water. The guy’s boathouse across the creek there, came up right to his front door.”

RELATED: Evacuation maps for other NE Florida counties

Ward said the rising waters likely came from storm surge -- something most people only associate with the coastline.

“But because our rivers drain into the ocean, storm surge will impact anything along the river and then any type of creek or estuary that are along those rivers and any residents along that is going to get impacted by storm surge also," Ward said.

The newly updated flood zone evacuation map will have no impact on who is required to carry flood insurance. 

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