ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Downtown St. Augustine was feeling the full force of Tropical Storm Ian on Thursday afternoon as water breached the seawall and rushed into the historic city.
The push of water started early Thursday morning, and by the afternoon, water had completely flooded A1A near the Bridge of Lions and pushed inland toward North Ponce De Leon Boulevard.
City officials urged people to stay out of the area as the tide waters peaked at 11:30 a.m. and to avoid driving through standing water. St. Augustine’s city manager said moving vehicles can push water into houses that were not previously flooded.
Notably, the floodwaters along A1A had receded by 5:30 p.m., (can be seen in the photo below from the St. Augustine White Room) but the next high tide would occur at 11:35 p.m.
Earlier in the morning, a sailboat broke free from its mooring and was adrift in the Matanzas River near downtown. The deteriorating weather also caused officials to shut down the Bridge of Lions to anyone trying to get onto Anastasia Island.
A NOAA station at nearby St. Augustine Beach reported a sustained wind of 53 mph and a gust of 61 mph. A WeatherSTEM station reported a gust of 74 mph was reported at Marineland.
But that didn’t stop the kayakers.
News4JAX saw a pair of paddlers braving the storm and making their way through the flood waters downtown.
In the nearby Davis Shores neighborhood, News4JAX saw roof damage and water in roadways.
Around 4:30 p.m., News4JAX crews came across more heavy flooding near Ponce De Leon Boulevard and Carrera Street, where and SUV was seen towing a Jeep out of the floodwaters.
The water was over the front hood of the Jeep before it was towed to safety.
As of Thursday evening, emergency management crews were doing an assessment countywide. They were attempting to get down to Summer Haven, but were having problem getting past high water on A1A near State Road 206.
Also near downtown St. Augustine, News4JAX crews came across heavy flooding in Flagler College’s parking garage.
And in the Davis Shores neighborhood, it was nearly impossible to travel beyond the bridge. Very tall trucks were able to tread through.