St. Johns County officials issued an evacuation order for the entire city of St. Augustine as Hurricane Ian is expected to come barreling through our area.
Its trajectory shows it’s expected to sweep across Florida, leaving neighbors in St. Augustine with little time to make a critical decision.
“We’re doing sandbags on all the entrances and praying for the best, with that we’re going to leave,” Luke Burge said.
Hurricanes Matthew and Irma both left intense flooding throughout St. Augustine, Burge said. After that, the Burges learned their lesson and are now heading out ahead of Ian.
Hurricane Ian: Tropical Storm Warning issued for our area
“We had with Matthew, probably 4 feet in the house, with Irma it was about half,” he said.
Eddie Lambert is another neighbor in a flood-prone area who boarded up his house and said he plans on staying.
“In Irma, what we did is seal the whole house up like a boat, so we run plastic and plywood all the way around the house then we put 55 gallon-a-minute sump pumps in the garage and a generator,” Lambert said.
The Westfield family shares a similar mindset.
“Matthew we left, Irma we stayed,” John Westfield said. “Irma got a little scary but I think we’re more concerned here with the flooding than the wind so we’re going to hunker down.”
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As of 9 p.m. Tuesday, the Action News Jax First Alert Weather Team is forecasting Hurricane Ian to run diagonally across the state, and then make a slow turn north near the coast just offshore of the Flagler and St. Johns County areas.
Neighbors who have dealt with home damage from past hurricanes along A1A in South Ponte Vedra are also preparing for what’s to come.
“We’ve been putting patio furniture into the garage, strapping stuff to the poles down here and we did reserve a room up in Jacksonville at the Sheraton just to be safe and bring our animals with us,” Joe Solcz said.
Solcz lives a few houses down from his neighbor Lenny Graves. Both of them had their homes wrecked from hurricanes in the past.
“I was going nuts for about two years trying to fix the financing on that, but it all worked out better than I ever imagined,” neighbor Lenny Graves said. “I don’t want to do it again.”
The following information was provided by the City of St. Augustine:
In preparation for the impact of Hurricane Ian this week, the City of St. Augustine is urging residents to prepare for flooding that is expected to exceed between 3 to 5 feet above street level in low-lying areas as early as Wednesday evening due to a forthcoming Nor’easter. With tropical storm-force winds and possible hurricane-force gusts, residents can also expect power outages, tree damage, and structure damage. Rain and winds are expected to last through Friday.
Hurricane Ian: Northeast Florida evacuation information
Garbage and recycling
Due to storm preparations and recovery efforts, Solid Waste will suspend all residential and commercial recycling collections on Thursday, Sept. 29 and Friday, Sept. 30. Residential yard waste routes, as well as commercial garbage routes, will be running as normal on Wednesday, Sept. 28. Service will resume as soon as possible, but in the meantime, customers should secure containers and materials. Residents should not place loose trash, construction debris, recycling materials and carts curbside due to potential damages, loss of property, and obstruction of roadways and storm drains.
St. Johns County has issued an evacuation order that includes the entire City of St. Augustine, beginning at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28, with emergency shelters opening at 12 p.m. on Wednesday. A map of evacuation zones, a list of shelters, and additional emergency planning information can be found at www.SJCEmergencyManagement.com.
On Wednesday, Sept. 28, beginning at 8 a.m., the Historic Downtown Parking Facility will be open to the public, free of charge through Saturday, Oct. 1. Downtown, city-operated pay stations will not charge for parking during the storm.
Starting on Wednesday, Sept. 28, through Friday, Sept. 30, the City of St. Augustine government offices will be closed.
Sandbag operations will resume on Wednesday at Francis Field for limited hours from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. or until the supply is depleted. The sand and the bags are free of charge and there is a limit of 20 bags per person. Members of the public must provide their own transportation and shovels and are responsible for filling their own bags. Vehicles should enter Francis Field from the west off Riberia Street and follow directions.
Residents can find helpful information online at the St. Johns County Emergency Operations Center website at www.SJCEmergencyManagement.org or contact the St. Johns County Emergency Management Citizen Information Line at 904.824.5550.
City of St. Augustine residents can follow www.CityStAug.com/Ian for additional city-specific updates.
The following information was provided by St. Johns County:
With the exception of emergency service employees responding to Hurricane Ian, all offices and departments of the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners, the Supervisor of Elections Office, the Property Appraiser’s Office, the Clerk of Courts Office, and the County Courthouse will be closed Wednesday, Sept. 28 through Friday, Sept. 30. Additionally, the government offices of the City of St. Augustine and City of St. Augustine Beach will also be closed. The St. Augustine Municipal Marina will close at 12 p.m. on Wednesday. Operational decisions beyond Friday will be determined based on weather conditions. The offices of the Tax Collector will be closed Wednesday, Sept. 28, and Thursday, Sept. 29.
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Garbage and recycling services
St. Johns County garbage and recycling collection schedules are not affected on Wednesday. The Tillman Ridge and Stratton Road Transfer Stations will remain open Wednesday. Information regarding collection schedules for the remainder of the week will be released when available. Residential and commercial waste collection for the City of St. Augustine will be suspended Thursday, Sept. 29, and Friday, Sept. 30. Service will resume as soon as conditions allow.
All St. Johns County libraries, bookmobiles, and book drops are closed Wednesday, Sept. 28, through Friday, Sept. 30. Operational decisions beyond Friday will be determined based on weather conditions. Due dates will be extended and fines will not be incurred during the closure.
Parks and beach services
All St. Johns County Parks & Recreation parks and facilities will close Wednesday, Sept. 28, through Friday, Sept. 30. This includes but is not limited to athletic playing fields, passive parks, boat ramps, playgrounds, fishing piers and the golf course. Beachfront parks and walkovers will also be closed during this time. Parks and facilities will reopen when safety inspections have been completed and weather conditions allow. Beach driving on all St. Johns County beaches is currently restricted.
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St. Johns County Schools and district offices will be closed on Wednesday, Sept. 28, through Friday, Sept. 30. All athletic contests and extracurricular activities will also be canceled until further notice.
Sunshine Bus Service
St. Johns County Council on Aging Sunshine Bus service will be suspended on Wednesday, Sept. 28, and Thursday, Sept. 29. Bus service on Friday, Sept. 30, will be determined and announced at a future time pending weather conditions. For Sunshine Bus updates, please visit www.sunshinebus.net or call customer service at 904-209-3716.
Evacuations, shelter information
Due to intensified conditions of Hurricane Ian, St. Johns County has issued evacuation orders effective at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28, for Zones A and B, which includes the entire City of St. Augustine, the City of St. Augustine Beach, and those living on waterfront property or flood-prone areas. In addition, the County is also evacuating part of Zone F for residents south of County Road 214. For evacuation information, including route maps and evacuation zones, please visit www.sjcfl.us/hurricane.
Residents living aboard boats and those living in recreational vehicles, mobile homes, and manufactured homes throughout St. Johns County are also included in the evacuation order. Residents who can evacuate and are not utilizing a St. Johns County shelter should begin evacuating as soon as possible before the evacuation scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 28 to avoid traffic congestion.
St. Johns County will also open three shelters starting at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 28. The County is prepared to open additional shelters as needed. The following shelters will be open to the public:
Pacetti Bay Middle School, 245 Meadowlark Ln. (Special needs)
Southwoods Elementary, 4750 State Road 206. (Pet-friendly)
Pedro Menendez High School, 600 State Road 206 West. (General population)
While shelters provide safety throughout the storm, residents must bring supplies to maintain personal comfort and sustenance. St. Johns County recommends that all evacuees bring their own bedding, including sleeping bags or air mattresses, pillows, sheets, and blankets. A five-day supply of water, non-perishable food, medication, diapers, and other personal items are also suggested. Please refer to the list below for additional supply suggestions.
At least a five-day supply of medications, insulin, and a cooler if you are diabetic
Personal grooming and hygiene items, feminine supplies
Extra clothing, eyeglasses
Books, magazines, cards, games, etc.
Pillows, blankets, sheets, lawn chair/chaise lounge
Flashlight and extra batteries, manual can opener
Personal identification/important papers
Hurricane Ian: Essential information for Jacksonville, Duval County
Due to potential extreme high tides and unpredictable ocean conditions related to Hurricane Ian, beach driving on all St. Johns County beaches will be restricted beginning at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. At this time, pedestrian access to the beach will remain available at off-beach parks and beach walkovers. Dangerous surf conditions and rip current activity are expected. Beach visitors are encouraged to avoid ocean swimming until conditions improve. Beach driving access will be reinstated when conditions allow.
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St. Johns County is providing free sandbags starting at 9 a.m. on Sept. 27, 2022, at six locations throughout the county in preparation for Hurricane Ian. The sand and the bags provided are free of charge. Residents must provide their transportation and shovels and are responsible for filling their bags. There is a maximum allocation of 20 bags per person. The sand and bags are available between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27, and Wednesday, Sept. 28, weather permitting.
Windswept Acres Park — 5335 SR A1A South
Solomon Calhoun Center — 1300 Duval Street
Hastings Town Hall — 6195 S. Main Street
Mills Field — 1805 Racetrack Road
North Beach Park — 3721 Coastal Highway
Palm Valley — Underneath the Palm Valley Bridge on the east side of the Intracoastal Waterway
For additional information, please call the St. Johns County Emergency Management Citizen Information Line at 904-824-5550.