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Nor’easter conditions batter First Coast

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – While the rains diminished on Sunday, the wind-driven tide surged even higher, battering area beaches and flooding low-lying coastal areas.

The beaches will continue to experience unusually high surf and tides, dangerous currents and strong winds through Monday.

St. Augustine flooding

The city of St. Augustine is under a flood alert through Monday and some streets downtown had standing water during high tides again Sunday. Parts of King Street, St. George Street, Avenida Menedez on the south end and almost all of Cordova Street flooded Saturday.

On Sunday, the water lapped over seawall out of the bay into the Oldest City. Residents say Ribera Street at South Street in Lincolnville had more than a foot of standing water. Visitors said the water was ankle deep near the curbs.

The city said tides are expected to be six to 12 inches higher than normal again Sunday night and at midday Monday, so motorists are urged to continue to use caution and turn around if you see flooded roadways.

This is nothing new for St. Augustine residents.

“Every time a storm comes through, it just backs up and comes through the drain system from the salt water,” Michael Harris said. “High tide brings it in, usually about two hours."

The docks and boat ramp at Vilano were also under water.

The City of St. Augustine put out a notice on social media that Sunday’s high tide was at the same flood surge levels as Hurricane Dorian.

City Manager, John Regan, said this is NOT typical nuisance, sunny-day flooding. The tide was breaching seawalls from South Davis Shores, to the Bayfront and throughout the city.

If you live in St. Augustine and need to move a vehicle to high ground, the city has opened the parking garage to residents, through Tuesday.

Parking attendants are there to help people.

Stay safe out there! Nor’easter conditions are battering the Northeast Florida shore. We’re experiencing unusually high...

Posted by Castillo de San Marcos National Monument on Sunday, September 20, 2020

St. Johns County

South of Jacksonville Beach, St. Johns County beaches posted on social media saying vehicle access gates are temporarily closed because of high tides Sunday.

St. Johns County officials urged people to use extreme caution while at the beach and to avoid swimming in the ocean altogether.

The county says some pedestrian access points may be affected, tidal flooding could lead to restricting on-beach driving, and there could be threats of coastal flooding and erosion.

Fernandina erosion

Fernandina Beach also reported nor’easter conditions all weekend, and the sand appeared to have eroded into a steep wall along the shoreline, although it’s unclear how much of that is from the current storm weather.

Conditions were clearly bad Saturday with large waves crashing against the shore and the wind whipping so fiercely our crew had difficulty standing in one place.

“It’s probably going to get worse tonight. I know the surge is going to be higher, so yeah, it’s crazy,” one Fernandina Beach resident said. “It’s been a while, but it happens with storms like this.”

On Sunday, Nassau County suspended driving on the beaches from Peters Point south to the state park due to hazardous weather conditions.

Tree down in Mayport

A viewer shared photos with News4Jax of a tree that fell in the parking lot of the Park at Rossini apartment complex in Mayport. The tree appeared to have hit several cars, trapping them.

A tree fell in a parking lot of a Mayport apartment complex Saturday, damaging and trapping several cars.
A tree fell in a parking lot of a Mayport apartment complex Saturday, damaging and trapping several cars. (Courtesy of Stephanie Conrad)

Avoid rip currents

Jax Ready says regardless of your experience level, conditions will be extremely dangerous.

Jax Ready shared these tips:

  • Always swim near a lifeguard
  • Never underestimate the ocean’s strength
  • Call 911 if a lifeguard is not on duty – do not attempt to rescue someone in distress
  • Know what the color of the warning flags mean
  • If you find yourself caught in a rip current, stay calm, don’t fight the current, swim out then to shore. If you can’t do that, tread water or float and yell for help.

Inland flooding

Julington Creek was also running high Saturday. Flooding around Clark’s Fish Camp closed the popular restaurant again.

Flooding around Clark's Fish Camp
Flooding around Clark's Fish Camp (WJXT)

San Marco

“It got about to where we are standing almost to the edge of my truck here, and it was maybe about a foot and a half deep I would say,” said Sam Marco resident Cameron Clements on Sunday..

Clements said this is some of the worst non-hurricane flooding he’s seen since living on LaSalle Street.

“I’d heard about the waves at the beach, but I didn’t think anything in town would be damaged from all the water and the height of the water coming in,” said Clements.

It took about three hours for the water to drain out. Clements said he was surprised to see cars trying to get through.

“Multiple people all day very fast for some reason. Little cars, big trucks, don’t know why or where they were going, but they came down this road," said Clements.

Just down the street is the river, but Clements said the water didn’t breach the concrete river wall.

He said it bubbled up through the manholes in the road.

San Marco is included in Sunday’s coastal flood warning, and as you’ve heard tonight from The Weather Authority, that ends at 6 p.m. tomorrow evening.

If you live in San Marco, you have a good chance of seeing similar conditions to this afternoon again during high tide through Monday.


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