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Jacksonville Besieged By Record Flooding In The Wake Of Irma

Record flooding besieged the Florida city on Monday, forcing the closure of bridges as officials struggled to reach entire neighborhoods underwater.

Originally posted on
Updated on

Record floodwaters in Jacksonville, Florida, crippled the city's infrastructure Monday as Irma continued to move north into Georgia.

Several bridges and the city's public transportation system had been closed since Sunday evening due to the floodwaters, though some highways reopened Monday night. Residents were asked not to needlessly draw down on already strapped city resources. The mayor even advised those who need rescuing to raise a white flag to draw the attention of first responders.

"Put a white flag outside your home that can be viewed so we can come get you," Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said Monday. "The floodwaters are not going to recede today."

The St. Johns River, meanwhile, reached 5.22 feet above normal, surpassing the record of 4.1 feet set in 1965 during Hurricane Dora, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

The St. Johns River in Jacksonville, FL is at a record level. Follow https://t.co/W64NXUOUbw for the details. Turn… https://t.co/mevUUXwhc6

The City of Jacksonville account tweeted that the extent of the flood itself was the worst since 1846.

This is an incident of historic proportions. The St. Johns River has not seen these flooding levels since 1846.… https://t.co/2jNeYQEnZc

The National Weather Service and the city of Jacksonville also issued a shelter-in-place warning Monday until 12:45 p.m. ET as flash flooding peaked and waterways continued to overflow, particularly with high tide.

Streets can have water depths between 2-4 feet. #HurricaneIrma #JaxReady

One more from the St Johns northbank on Riverside Ave. @jaxdotcom

Video shows flooding along St. Johns River & this is just the beginning. During high tide, we're expected to receiv… https://t.co/S8rG4XAtiN

In addition to several of the city's major bridges, the airport had also closed as officials worked to reestablish operations.

Jacksonville schools were to be closed Tuesday pending further notice.

Also on Monday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he had been working with Jacksonville to facilitate rescue operations and that the worst of the storm had cleared the state.

“I didn’t see the damage I thought I would see," Scott said. "It’s not as bad as we thought the storm would do. My heart goes out to the people in the Keys, though. It’s going to be a long road, especially for the people in the Keys."

Still, he cautioned Jacksonville that even though Irma had passed, the city faced historical flooding along the St Johns.

"The biggest threat this week as Irma leaves will be river flooding," he said.

UPDATE

At 6 p.m. ET, the city of Jacksonville's official Twitter account posted that some of the bridges closed due to high water had reopened.

Intracoastal bridges are OPEN in both directions. Drive safe. Thank you for your patience. #HurricaneIrma #JaxReady



Blake Montgomery is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.

Contact Blake Montgomery at blake.montgomery@buzzfeed.com.

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