JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Multiple Ken Knight Drive homes along the Ribault River flooded and suffered significant damage as Nicole swept through Florida on Thursday.
In the afternoon, there was widespread flooding when the Ribault River overflowed into the community. While some homes had water that only came up to the front and back doors, others had more than a foot of flood water that entered their home. Now, several people are temporarily displaced.
Homeowner Velma Aiken, who had lived along Ken Knight Drive for more than 40 years, took News4JAX on a tour of her property, which was sitting underwater and then into her home where floodwaters had breached the inside of the back of the house.
A line of dirt along the wall and above the threshold of a door — about a foot and a half off the ground — could be seen, marking how high the waters had risen earlier in the day.
“I have nowhere to go,” she said. “I just don’t know what to do.”
Ken Knight Drive in the Ribault neighborhood is a flood-prone area.
“It’s aggravating and it’s frustrating,” Aiken said.
During Hurricane Irma in 2017, heavy rains caused the Ribault River to overflow into many homes along Ken Knight Drive, and residents said floodwaters brought snakes into yards and alligators floating down the street.
This is now the second time since Irma that Aiken had to deal with flooding inside her home.
“I don’t want to give it up, but if I have to get to that point, I will. But right now, I’m going to fight it out,” Aiken said. “I’m just going to keep on my boots and do what I have to do.”
Aiken said volunteers have come out to try to help the residents of the homes that were damaged by flooded waters. She asked anyone else willing to help to contact her at 904-982-5413.
Aiken’s neighbor Larry Sheppard didn’t get water in his home but said he got frightened when floodwaters almost came to his door, which is more than 4 feet higher above the ground.
“Water rose so high that I had to call the fire department to come to get me out of the house,” Sheppard recounted. “It almost came in the house.”
Further up the street, several more homes next to the river completely flooded. An owner who only goes by the first name Mike spent hours removing flood water and damaged furniture — and he knows he may have to do it again, as people with water damage to their homes are aware that high tide is likely to bring floodwaters back into their homes.
“I’m definitely worried,” he said. “Now we’re trying to put the sandbags up to prepare for it as we did earlier, but we didn’t do it as well as we thought we did.”
People like Aiken who own their homes are on a fixed income. And despite having insurance, the reality is that their insurance may only cover so much.
“It can only handle so much because if it’s not your roof falling off or window falling out, they don’t pay for seeping water,” Aiken said.
Aiken said volunteers came out to try to help the residents of the flooded homes. She asked anyone else willing to help to contact her at 904-982-5413. Multiple renters and owners who were displaced by floodwaters were either put up in hotels or went to stay with a relative.