St. Johns County Emergency Management, in conjunction with the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center, continues to monitor the path and possible impacts Hurricane Dorian may bring to our local community. Due to intensified conditions of Hurricane Dorian, St. Johns County has issued mandatory evacuation orders effective for 8am on Monday, September 2 for Evacuation Zones A and B. Please see the information below for more details.
The latest projections indicate the storm making landfall in South Florida, then moving toward Northeast Florida. The storm is currently expected to bring extreme rainfall to our area, with some estimates up to 20 inches over the course of several days. However, storm tracks evolve rapidly (as we have already seen with Hurricane Dorian). Please remain aware of the storm forecast and be ready to act if necessary. Emergency Management encourages everyone to prepare homes accordingly, have provisions for a minimum of 72 hours, and make sure your family plan is ready.
Emergency Management is encouraging residents to evaluate preparedness and response plans, know evacuation routes and zones, assemble supply kits, and prepare homes for potential hurricane weather events.
The St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners declared a Local State of Emergency on August 29. The declaration allows the County to access resources and assistance to prepare for an inclement weather event. St. Johns County Administration and Emergency Management Staff are carefully monitoring Hurricane Dorian and are working with a variety of local and State agencies to prepare for its impacts.
HURRICANE WATCH/STORM SURGE WATCH
The National Hurricane Center has issued a Hurricane Watch and Storm Surge Watch for St. Johns County on Monday, September 2 in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian. A hurricane watch is issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, and means hurricane conditions in relation to wind, rain, and surf are possible within the watch area. A storm surge watch indicates a possibility of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the coastline.
In addition, the National Weather Service has issued a Coastal Flood Warning and High Surf Advisory for St. Johns County’s beaches and the St. Johns River. Inland flooding, tidal flooding, and extremely dangerous rip currents are expected to impact the County’s coastline and areas along the St. Johns River. Additionally, surf is expected to increase 7-10 feet on Monday and 10-20 feet on Tuesday and Wednesday. Residents and visitors are strongly encouraged to avoid the beaches until Hurricane Dorian passes the area.
CURFEW ISSUED FOR EVACUATION ZONES
St. Johns County law enforcement agencies have announced a curfew that will be in effect from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. nightly beginning Tuesday, September 3 for Evacuation Zones A and B, the City of St. Augustine Beach, the City of St. Augustine, Flagler Estates, and Hastings. The curfew will remain in effect nightly until further notice.
A curfew order mandates that anyone on the street may be required to produce identification to law enforcement officers to verify their address and purpose for being in the area in an effort to reduce incidents of potential looting and to protect those in areas which may not yet be deemed safe. Law enforcement agencies of the City of St. Augustine, City of St. Augustine Beach, and St. Johns County worked in conjunction to develop an executive order signed by St. Johns County Administrator Michael Wanchick.
MANDATORY EVACUATION ORDER AND EVACUATION ZONES
Due to intensified conditions of Hurricane Dorian, St. Johns County has issued mandatory evacuation orders effective for 8am on Monday, September 2 for Evacuation Zones A and B, which includes the entire City of St. Augustine, the City of St. Augustine Beach, and those living on waterfront property or in flood-prone areas. In addition, the County has ordered evacuations for Hastings and Flagler Estates. For evacuation information, including route maps and evacuation zones, please visit www.sjcemergencymanagement.org/evacinfo.html.
Residents living aboard boats, and those living in RVs, mobile homes, and manufactured homes throughout St. Johns County are also included in the evacuation order. Residents who are able to evacuate and are not utilizing a St. Johns County shelter should begin evacuating as soon as possible prior to the evacuation order scheduled for Monday, September 2 in order to minimize traffic congestion.
Please refer to the evacuation zone map below:
If you do not know your evacuation zone, please visit: http://www.gis.bocc.co.st-johns.fl.us/MYEZ/.
St. Johns County will also open six shelters at 8 a.m. on Monday, September 2. The County is prepared to open additional shelters as needed. The following shelters will be open to the public:
- Pacetti Bay Middle School, 245 Meadowlark Ln. (Special needs)
- Timberlin Creek Elementary School, 555 Pine Tree Ln. (Pet-friendly)
- Southwoods Elementary, 4750 State Road 206. (Pet-friendly)
- Pedro Menendez High School, 600 State Road 206 West. (General population)
- Bartram Trail High School, 7399 Longleaf Pine Pkwy. (General population)
- Osceola Elementary, 1605 Osceola Elementary Rd. (General population)
While shelters provide safety throughout the storm, residents must bring supplies in order to maintain personal comfort and sustenance. St. Johns County recommends that all evacuees bring their own bedding, including sleeping bags or air mattresses, pillows, sheets, and blankets. A five-day supply of water, non-perishable food, medication, diapers, and other personal items are also suggested. Please refer to the list below for additional supply suggestions:
- At least five-day supply of medications, insulin and cooler if you are diabetic.
- Personal grooming and hygiene items, feminine supplies.
- Extra clothing, eyeglasses.
- Books, magazines, cards, games, etc.
- Pillows, blankets, sheets, lawn chair/chaise lounge.
- Flashlight and extra batteries, manual can opener.
- Personal identification/important papers.
You can find all shelter locations and see their opening status at this webpage.
Additionally, community members who have identified a need for sand bags may begin purchasing them from local hardware and home improvement stores. St. Johns County will also make available supplemental sand bag services, but supplies may be limited and are not guaranteed.
St. Johns County is providing free sandbags at six locations throughout the County. The sand and the bags will be provided free of charge to residents. Residents must provide their own transportation and shovels, and will be responsible for filling their own bags. There is a maximum allocation of 20 bags per person.
- Windswept Acres Park – 5335 SR A1A South.
- Sims Pit – 536 S. Holmes Boulevard.
- Hastings Community Center – 6195 S. Main Street, behind the building.
- Mills Field – 1805 Race Track Road, in the overflow parking area.
- Palm Valley – Under the Palm Valley Bridge on the east side of the Intracoastal Waterway.
- North Beach Park – 3721 Coastal Highway (at the walkover).
The sand and bags will be available between 8am and 5pm daily for the duration of the storm or until conditions deteriorate and the operation must cease for the safety of the public and staff.
St. Johns County garbage, yard debris, and recycling collections will proceed as scheduled through Tuesday, September 3. Residents are asked to refrain from placing trash, yard debris, or other items along the roadway on Wednesday, September 4 due to potential impacts from Hurricane Dorian. Information regarding collection schedules for the remainder of the week will be released when available.
CITY PARKING GARAGE FULL
The city’s public parking facility, the Historic Downtown Parking Facility, has reached capacity and will no longer accept vehicles. Regular operations of the facility will resume when it is safe to return and open, following the effects of Hurricane Dorian.
Due to extreme high tides and unpredictable ocean conditions, beach driving on all St. Johns County beaches will be restricted beginning Sunday, September 1 until conditions improve. Pedestrian access to the beach is still available at off-beach parks and beach walkovers. In addition, all Labor Day Weekend holiday beach shuttle services have been cancelled.
Traffic signals at the following locations have been placed on flash mode.
- King and Cordova Sts.
- King St. at M. L. King Blvd.
- King St. at Riberia St.
- Anastasia Blvd. at Matanzas Ave,
- Cuna St. at Avenida Menendez pedestrian crossing
- Fort Alley pedestrian crossing
Starting on Tuesday morning, September 3, traffic signals at three additional intersections will be placed on flash mode.
- Bridge of Lions at Avenida Menendez
- San Marco Ave. at Castillo Dr.
- U.S. 1 at W. Castillo Dr.
Motorists are reminded to treat any intersection where traffic lights are on flash mode or out all together as a 4-way stop.
PUBLIC MEETING CANCELLATIONS
In addition, the following public meetings have been cancelled:
- Quality of Nightlife Public Workshop: Wednesday, August 28 at 3pm, at City Hall
- Complete King Street Master Plan Project: Thursday, August 29 at 5:30pm, at Governor’s House Cultural Center and Museum
- Planning and Zoning Board meeting: Tuesday, September 3. All agenda items will be postponed for review at the Tuesday, October 1, meeting which will take place at 2pm, in The Alcazar Room of City Hall.
- The St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners meeting: Tuesday, September 3. It has been rescheduled to 3:30pm on September 12 at the County Administration Building.
- St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners’ tentative millage rate and budget hearing: Tuesday, September 3. Rescheduled for 5:01pm on September 12 at the County Administration Building.
The townhall meeting for the City of St. Augustine Beach has also been postponed.
All St. Johns County libraries are open for standard hours at this time. Due to the unpredictable nature of the Hurricane Dorian’s path, library programs may be postponed or cancelled. Please check the library’s web calendar at www.sjcpls.org for program updates or cancellations.
Due to the potential impacts of the storm, all library book drops will be locked and sealed at the end of the day on Saturday, August 31. Please do not attempt to return library items until further notice. Item due dates and hold pickup deadlines have been extended through September 5 and will be further extended if necessary. All bookmobile stops scheduled for Tuesday, September 3 have been cancelled.
St. Augustine city offices, St. Augustine Beach city offices, and St. Johns County Government offices will be closed Monday, September 2-Wednesday, September 4.
The St. Augustine Municipal Marina has been closed. Suspended operations include all fueling, pump out, tender service and dockage. The marina will remain closed until it is safe for marina personnel to return.
The Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas National Monuments will be closed until further notice in anticipation of severe weather. While the storm track is unpredictable, based on existing information, park officials have decided to err on the side of caution and focus on visitor, volunteer, and staff safety by this preemptive closure. For National Park updates, please visit www.nps.gov/casa and www.nps.gov/foma.
The Lightner Museum is now closed until after Hurricane Dorian has passed.
All St. Johns County Parks and Recreation programs are cancelled, and all parks and facilities are closed until further notice. Parks and facilities will reopen when safety inspections have been completed and weather conditions allow.
The Council on Aging offices, including transportation (Sunshine Bus & Paratransit) and all five senior centers, will be closed Tuesday, September 3 and Wednesday, September 4.
The St. Johns Golf Club is closed until further notice.
In anticipation of incoming animals due to Hurricane Dorian, the St. Johns County Pet Center is waiving all pet adoptions fees through September 6. The Pet Center is located at 130 N Stratton Road and anticipates to remain open during standard operation hours from 9am to 4pm on Saturday, and Tuesday through Friday.
The Emergency Operations Center will be providing Hurricane Dorian updates through the weekend at www.sjcemergencymanagement.org and www.facebook.com/stjohnseoc. Residents can also find weather updates at www.weather.gov/jax.
Please call the St. Johns County Emergency Management hotline at (904) 824-5550 for non-emergency storm-related information. The hotline will be available from 8am to 7pm. If you have a life-threatening emergency, please call 911.Featured image via Anastasia State Park.