By Gabby Parzygnat and Isaiah Jenkins
Jacksonville Beach has been through its fair share of inclement weather. In the span of three years three hurricanes have been present on the shores. Hurricane Matthew, Dorian, and Irma have passed bringing some flooding and damage to local properties. Heavy rainfall is also a factor in causing flooding in the Jacksonville Beach area.
According to a recent News4Jax article Neptune, Atlantic, and Jax Beach residents faced flooding reaching up to 5 inches due to rainfall this passing week.
“When that one was coming (Hurricane Dorian) we actually have a downstairs area that is a entrance to a second floor apartment and so there is a storage area there and instead of leaving everything on the ground or on the first floor so it can get wet we use in the event of flooding, crates to elevate. Plastic crates were used to lift 12 to14 inches but we had rain basically coming in the apartment from everywhere else,” said local Jacksonville Beach resident James Caughlin
The impact of inclement weather also effects local restaurants and bars.
“Hurricane Matthew a few years back we got a pretty bad storm surge from it and it flooded in pretty good through 1st and 2nd street up there but the storm surge flooded over the dunes. That was how the streets flooded through the storm surge. We just sandbag up the doors in case of flooding or anything. Keep water from coming in the building. All the windows on the front side of the restaurant are hurricane proof glass so its pretty much unbreakable glass so yeah,” said Kyle Varnadore, Flask & Cannon bartender.
For Jacksonville Beach residents, help for hurricanes and flooding is easily available. Located at the beach is the American Red Cross Lifeguard Station. Lieutenant Maxwell Ervaniah wants Jacksonville Beach residents to know that the station follows all local government action and evacuation plans.
“We are in constant communication with the national weather service, the city emergency management as well as the county emergency management. So we kind of follow the recommendations of the local city government and we kind of mirror the operations that we would do for the rest of our city of Jacksonville Beach buildings,” said Ervaniah.
Ervaniah has worked with American Red Cross for over nine years and has experience encountering hurricanes and severe weather.
“In the event that we do have a hurricane coming close to our area such as recently Hurricane Dorian, a couple years age Hurricane Irma and then before that Hurricane Matthew, our first preparation activities would be to shutter up the lifeguard station, as well as we are going to evacuate any life safety rescue equipment to stage at another location so in the event that we do need it once that the flooding or threat subdues, we are able to have easy access to it. Then really we will be maintaining this lifeguard station up until the very last minute to where we would fall back to our staging area to wait out the storm,” he said.
For Jacksonville Beach residents, there are plenty of ways to find help to make sure you are prepared to deal with any weather on Florida’s coast. To make preparation easier, residents and businesses are encouraged to have plans in case unforeseen problems do occur.