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High Tides Trigger Coastal Flood Warning In Urban Jacksonville Neighborhoods

Lindsay Hardee

A Coastal Flood Advisory from the National Weather Service is in effect in the San Marco and Ortega neighborhoods of Jacksonville through at least the middle of next week.

Lindsay Hardee lives about a block away from the river in San Marco. She says the road has been so flooded, she found a fish in the road. And sure enough, a few yards away from where she’s standing, a six-inch gray fish is baking in the sun.

It was noon, so the tide was low, and the street was just wet. But this evening, water will flow and fill the road in front of her house, like clockwork twice a day.

Credit Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News
San Marco resident Lindsay Hardee finds a fish stranded in the street left behind from high-tide flooding.

“I’ve been a little concerned as to if it was going to be a permanent thing or if it was just going to recede,” Hardee said.

Jacksonville University’s Marine Science Research Institute Director Quinton White says Hardee has Earth’s alignment to thank.

“Periodically, the Sun, the moon and the Earth are closer to each other than at other times of the year and when that occurs we get the highest high tides,” White said “We also get the lowest low tides.”

Combine that with easterly winds and the Blood Moon last week, and you get supersaturated conditions, he says.

Jacksonville City Councilwoman Lori Boyer represents the San Marco area and says she’s been getting complaints about the abnormal flooding for two weeks.

“A lot of people that live in these areas are pretty patient and know that this happens when we have a big storm,” Boyer said. “But the concern here was, we didn’t have the big storm, and it has been a prolonged period.”

She said since the issue is ongoing, it’s important to be proactive with a plan that ensures people have emergency services and sewage won’t contaminate the waterline.

“We can’t hold the tide back,” Boyer said. “I think it’s unrealistic to think that we are going to build levies like New Orleans or something and design for that here.”

She says its important is push for projects that improve street drainage. But there’s a long backlog of projects and little money to accomplish them.  She says some flood-prone areas in her district have been on the city’s Capital Improvement Plan list for years.

Boyer says in the meantime, flooded streets will be barricaded off and traffic rerouted.