Jacksonville city crews prep for major rains

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - People who live and work along McCoys Creek say they just expect it to flood. But they would like to see the city out there preparing for high water expected to come with heavy rains Thursday associated with a tropical system pushing toward Florida.

"They need to come out here and take a back hoe and dredge it out because there are sandbars all the way down, all the way down the creek. That helped when they came and cleared it out," a resident named Charles said.

The city has done some cleanup in the area. A lot of debris is gone and officials said the public works department is monitoring the site.

Interstate 10 and Cassat Avenue, another flood-prone location, saw rising waters of its own when Tropical Storm Debbie came through last year.

John Romberg, who owns AutoMac, a used car lot, said he's watching the storm that's coming.

"In the past we had water go into the building here, we had water at this point 3 or 4 feet high," Romberg said. "We try to pull the cars back as much as possible. We try to put them on the hill. We've been caught with our pants down before. We did not realize there was a heavy rain coming."

The city also made drainage improvements there, and Romberg and others are hoping they work.

The Emergency Operations Center will go to a level three, its lowest activation level, on Thursday morning.

"Public works is very proactive," said Bruce Scott, deputy director of the EOC. "Early spring into this time of year they get out there and start doing some drains because they know this comes up. So they are usually ahead of the curve. I have talked to them this morning and they are looking at those normal trouble areas. They make sure they are looking at them and will address them as necessary."

Public works crews in San Marco were clearing out the drains from the new storm pumps so water can be pumped from the streets to help keep the traditional flooding site somewhat clear.

City officials said crews would continue their work through Thursday morning when the rains start.

Residents are urged to exercise caution as the potentially heavy rainfall comes into the area over the next several days.

Visit JaxReady.com for timely information from Duval County Emergency Management. Click here for a Hurricane Survival Guide.

Should severe storms occur:

The city's help line, 904-630-CITY (2489) is available to take reports of downed tree limbs, flooding of homes and businesses, and other needs that may require a city work crew. Reports also can be made online at 630CITY.coj.net or by email at 630CITY@coj.net.

Residents who see downed power lines should exercise extreme caution and call 911. Other questions and concerns about power outages should be directed to JEA at 904-665-6000.

Residents are urged to avoid driving and walking through standing water. Floodwater has the potential to contain contamination and dangerous wildlife, such as snakes and fire ants. Driving through storm waters poses a risk because the flow can potentially wash someone away. 

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