Flagler County: ‘Don’t drive on A1A unless absolutely necessary’

Roadways flood in Flagler County during Nicole

A1A flooded during Tropical Storm Nicole on Thursday in Flagler County. (WJXT)

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – A day after asking residents and visitors in certain parts of the county to evacuate ahead of Nicole, Flagler County emergency management officials on Thursday asked drivers to avoid using A1A if at all possible.

In a social media post early Thursday, Flagler County Emergency Management said, “As you can imagine, sections of our favorite scenic byway have been taking a serious beating.”

Flagler County had serious effects from Nicole, with storm surge, flooding and high winds. The result: Neighborhoods have flooded and part of A1A has been washed out.

RELATED: Closures and more information on Flagler County storm preps

Nicole made landfall around 3 a.m. Thursday as a Category 1 hurricane and quickly weakened to a tropical storm with effects being felt along the Northeast Florida coast Thursday morning.

At 8:17 a.m., officials tweet that Northbound A1A traffic is closed at Highbridge in Volusia County. And southbound traffic in Flagler Beach was closed at South Central Avenue at the Water Tower.

Around 9:30 a.m., officials said A1A at the St. Johns County-Flagler County line at Marineland was closed because of flooding.

Earlier, officials posted at 4 a.m. that there are road closures on A1A at the St. Johns County Line and from South 7th Street to South 16th Street.

“Please support the efforts of our local law enforcement and road crews by staying off the roads and avoiding hazardous situations,” Flagler emergency management wrote.

Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord told News4JAX that damage had already been done to A1A on Wednesday in the southern part of Flagler County after the ocean breached the dunes.

He said they were seeing 10- to 15-foot waves on Thursday and expect more damage to A1A in the day and flooding on the roadway in the northern end of the county, where it’s more low-lying.

Officials said that previous damage to the sand dunes from Hurricane Ian and other previous storms has already greatly depleted the barrier that protects homes and businesses from the storm surge.

“Whatever’s left of the dunes right now, we expect that this high tide (at 9 a.m.) and the waves will probably devastate the balance of the dunes and cause continued damage to A1A and also breach and at times cross over A1A,” Lord said.

Drivers need to expect intermittent closures of A1A for flooding, Lord said.

Hurricane Ian also caused a portion of the historic Flagler Beach pier to come apart and drift away.

“I’m going to assume that there will be more damage done to the pier at this point,” Lord said.

Rough waves Tuesday afternoon beating up against the Flagler Beach pier, which was previously damaged by Hurricane Ian (WXJT)

Around 2:30 p.m. in a neighborhood near Moody Boulevard and Flagler Avenue in Flagler Beach, there were floodwaters for about a half-mile, and water was reaching some homes and apartments. When News4JAX was talking with deputies with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, he said he went to see the flooding firsthand because it was worse than when Ian came through. A lot of neighbors told us the same thing.

Nicole flooded roadways in Flagler County on Thursday.


Flagler County encouraged residents and visitors in Zone A — as well as those in mobile homes and RVs — to evacuate Wednesday ahead of Nicole. Zone A is the barrier island from Flagler Beach to Marineland.

Lord said the county is anticipating strong winds, elevated surf and waves, and above-normal tides and rain amounting from 3 to 6 inches.

“Thursday morning through Thursday afternoon, maybe even Thursday evening, we can expect to see our peak storm surge approach 3 to 5 feet above normal with waves potentially exceeding 15 feet and countywide winds approaching tropical storm force along the coast and the real possibility of hurricane-force gusts as well,” Lord said.

Winds whip along Flagler County coast during Nicole. (WJXT)

Shelter info

The shelter location is Rymfire Elementary, 1425 Rymfire Drive, Palm Coast, for general population, special needs, and evacuees with pets.

Residents utilizing shelters are encouraged to arrive by 8 p.m. and to bring their own bedding. Single/twin size inflatable mattresses are preferred due to the space limitations.

All evacuees using the shelter should bring:

  • Five-day supply of all medications
  • Medical supplies and equipment
  • Sleeping bags, pillows, and blankets
  • Extra chargers and batteries for electronics
  • Headphones for music devices
  • Snacks and “comfort foods” – meals will be served
  • Important documents including identification, medical history, and insurance
  • No weapons allowed
  • No illegal narcotics allowed
  • No alcohol allowed

Residents with pets:

  • Animals must be crated
  • Animals must have current vaccination records and supplies, including medications
  • “Pets” are dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, rodents, and turtles
  • Four (4) pet maximum
  • No snakes, reptiles or farm animals and livestock
  • No drop offs

Residents with special medical needs:

  • Special medical needs residents are those who require daily assistance with medical conditions that prevent or hinder their ability to care for themselves, as well as those who require electricity or oxygen
  • Residents countywide who have special medical needs that require electricity for medical purposes are also welcome in the special needs shelter.
  • A family member or caregiver should stay at the shelter with the individual
  • Special needs shelters provide only limited medical care

At the www.flaglercounty.gov/emergency website, residents can sign up for the ALERTFlagler notification system, directly accessible at www.flaglercounty.gov/alertflagler.

About the Authors:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.