St. Augustine businesses began reopening just one day after Tropical Storm Nicol brought wind, rain and flooding to downtown and coastal areas.
City and county officials arrived downtown by early Friday morning to clear debris and reposition Christmas lights that had been torn from trees by the wind.
St. Johns County spokeswoman Lorena Inclan said an assessment of the damage is ongoing and will continue through the weekend.
“Our usual vulnerable locations include Summerhaven and Porpoise Point,” Inklan said. Damage was also seen in parts of Vilano Beach.”
The Ancient City is rampaging again:Six weeks after Ian, the St. Augustine area was submerged again by Tropical Storm Nicole
At Tradewinds Tropical Lounge, the flagship family-owned bar in downtown St. Augustine, employees were inside the store investigating the damage on Friday morning.
Janette Hill, who has worked at Tradewinds for the past 21 years, said it was just a leak through the ceiling. The restaurant flooded during Hurricane Ian. I made it.
“Every year we learn something new…we do it pretty well.We work hard,” Hill said. , no floods.”
Hill said Tradewinds will open around 2 p.m. Friday, ready to welcome customers.
Other businesses in the downtown area, such as Kookaburra and Harry’s Seafood, were also open or had already opened, even though videos and photos showed the floodwaters high enough for people to kayak through the streets. rice field.
St. John’s County released an update on the decontamination effort Friday morning, saying the county “experienced significant impact” from Nicole.
“Authorities are assessing the damage and crews are removing debris as quickly as possible, but this process will take some time,” the statement read.
The county has also reopened Florida A1A and lifted the voluntary evacuation order.
Never again: St. Augustine residents frustrated and devastated
Across the Lion Bridge in the Davis Shores neighborhood, Georgina and Garrett Perez’s home wasn’t as lucky as the downtown buildings.
Their house at the intersection of Arricola and Zorayada was completely flooded. The couple said their home needed to be demolished and rebuilt after both Hurricane Her Ian and Tropical Storm Nicole flooded their home.
Hurricane damage: After Ian, St. John’s County estimates about $60 million in repairs to homes, roads and infrastructure.
Photo: Man rescued from flooding in St. Augustine during Tropical Storm Nicole
From Chicago, the couple watched from a palm tree-mounted camera as the house they just purchased in May 2021 flooded again on Thursday.
“The City of St. Augustine is doing everything they can to help us,” said Georgina. However, many residents are unhappy with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood mitigation assistance grants, which are difficult for homeowners to access.
Flood Mitigation Assistance provides funding to states, communities, tribes and territories for projects that reduce or eliminate the risk of recurring flood damage to buildings insured by the National Flood Insurance Program. It is
“We have a lot of homeowners who can’t afford mitigation because the flooding continues, and they don’t get any assistance,” Georgina said. , does not receive mitigation support, and cannot go down that road because it could take years to get the city-distributed grants.”
If you are a St. Johns County resident or business owner with storm-related structural damage from Tropical Storm Nicole or have questions about permits, call the St. Johns County Building Services Structural Hotline at (904) 827-6836. You can call
Katherine Lewin is an enterprise reporter for The Times Union covering crime and social justice issues in northeast Florida. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Twitter @KatherineMLewin. Contact her on her Signal number to share her anonymous tips and docs. Let’s support local journalism!