After a long wait, Floridians finally saw Hurricane Dorian breeze by today as it headed up the coast to Georgia and the Carolinas. Although anticipated high winds and heavy rain are less than expected, damage still is to be assessed. For many the day will be one of staying home and waiting to see if more weather issues develop. Emergency management personnel are in place and weather forecasts call for maintaining vigilant to 6 a.m. Thursday. Rain bands and tropical storm winds are predicted throughout the day and probably into the evening depending on the speed of Dorian.
This morning some FP&L customers in Flagler, St. Johns and Putnam counties were without power. Flagler County had about 1,100 residents without electricity, St. Johns County just under 2,700 residents and Putnam County almost 2,600. Clay Electric was not reporting outages in Putnam or Flagler.
Flagler County which was bracing for major erosion and winds was hit first with Flagler Emergency Management reporting wind speeds of 48 mph and five inches of rain around 4 a.m. this morning.
In St. Johns County residents saw wind and high surf. A curfew in effect overnight was lifted but people are being urged to stay out home and out of the water until conditions improve. A mandatory evacuation affected nearly 150,000 in St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach.
What’s being called a “king tide” was expected to cause flooding issues. A longtime St. Augustine resident noted that used to be called a “marsh hen tide” and came every September. The rising tides would cover the grasses and chase the marsh hens out. Hunters would take advantage.
Bridge closings have been a concern. The Bridge of Lions was open although proof of residence is needed. Vilano Beach Bridge was closed. Flagler Beach Bridge on State Road 100 and the Hammock Dunes Bridge in Flagler County were closed because of a curfew in place. Florida Department of Transportation will be inspecting bridges.
In Putnam County, bridges remain open. For one family this will be a storm they never forget. Putnam County Emergency medical personnel were called out to The Racetrack gas station at State Roads 19 and 20 to deliver a baby Tuesday. The boy, named Josiah, was born as his mother was returning home from St. Augustine where she had gone to see her obstetrician. Paramedic Gene Morgante delivered the baby.
Public schools remain closed in all three counties and will be closed through Thursday. A number are serving as shelters, which remain open. St. Johns River State College with campuses in Palatka, Orange Park and St. Augustine will be closed through Friday. Flagler College has not announced when it will reopen.