ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Many communities prone to flooding and storm damage are concerned about Tropical Depression 9.
St. Augustine and the St. Johns County beaches have traditionally had some of the worst problems in past hurricanes and tropical storms.
On Friday, News4JAX stopped in on the most vulnerable areas where people were keeping a close watch.
Mary’s Harbor View Café has a great location on St. Augustine’s bayfront — until there’s a hurricane.
The cafe has reminders from storms past. Even though it’s a couple of feet off of the ground, you can see Hurricane Irma sent water onto the floor there. The year before that, Hurricane Matthew did even more damage, with several feet of storm surge getting inside the restaurant.
“It flooded it. It came in and it left,” said Wendy Githens at Mary’s Harbor View Café. “And it made a mess.”
Now, those at the cafe are watching the forecast closely.
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In 2016, Matthew brought 5 to 7 feet of flooding in St. Johns County. The National Weather Service says, the next year, Irma caused 3 to 5 feet of flooding. Remember, neither made a direct hit here.
“I’ve been there and done that. I’ve seen people get hurt. I’ve seen houses get wrecked. I’ve seen trees fall down,” said St. Johns County resident Luke St. John Jarvis.
In St. Augustine Beach, the wind and waves are already whipping — thanks to a cold front and a distant Hurricane Fiona. A tropical storm or hurricane over the area would bring issues.
Erosion is always one of the biggest concerns in St. Johns County. You’ve probably seen the problems over the years. In fact, it doesn’t take a hurricane, or even a tropical storm, to do some serious damage and wash a lot of the coastline away, but ultimately, it’s up to the taxpayers to bring it back through renourishment programs
Homeowners in Davis Shores near the Bridge of Lions are also on high alert. This historic and low-lying neighborhood has seen significant flooding. Matthew’s and Irma’s waters nearly destroyed some homes there, pushing residents out for months. So people are keeping a close eye on what’s developing.