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1 Dead, Several Injured After Elsa Tears Through Jacksonville, St. Marys

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News4Jax
The Pinebrook Apartments on Powers Avenue were damaged when a tornado touched down.

Last update: 10:15 a.m. Thursday

As Tropical Storm Elsa made its way north Wednesday evening, it left behind death, injuries and destruction in Jacksonville and Southeast Georgia.

A man lost his life when a tree limb fell on his car on Roosevelt Boulevard in Ortega near Yacht Club Road.

And multiple people were treated for non-life-threatening injuries at an RV park on Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia after a tornado touched down there.

And on Jacksonville’s Southside, the National Weather Service confirmed another tornado touched down in the area of Powers Avenue near University Boulevard at I-95. Reports of damage to homes and businesses there and throughout the San Jose neighborhood, to the southwest, flowed in to WJCT News partner News4Jax.

As crews continued to evaluate the damage and debris left behind by Elsa and worked Wednesday night to restore power in some areas, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry offered a reminder that it’s still early in the hurricane season.

“We’re just outside of the July 4 holiday, and we’ve had our first storm, and unfortunately, we’ve had a fatality,” Curry said.

He then urged people to know their evacuation routes and flood zones before the next storm.

In addition to the wind and tornadoes, heavy rains flooded streets throughout the area, including the Interstate 295 East Beltway at Interstate 95 on the north end of Duval County, which was shut down Wednesday night due to about 2.5 feet of water over the road, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. All lanes had reopened just after 1 a.m. Thursday. 

A crew with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department also rescued a driver from floodwaters Wednesday night near McCoys Creek.

With Elsa gone from the area, its impacts could be felt through the weekend. The National Weather Service early Thursday morning said many local rivers are either in or will rise into flood stage over the next couple of days, and locally heavy rainfall from scattered showers and thunderstorms through the weekend could cause localized flood issues due to saturated grounds.

All severe weather watches and warnings had been canceled as of midnight.