The first coast endured two tropical storms in the 2022 hurricane season.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The 2022 hurricane season is a wrap. With two storms under our belt, the first coast held it’s ground.
We are thankful to not see some of the devastation that hit southwest Florida, but there was plenty to see from St. Johns County to southeast Georgia.
Let’s start with Hurricane Ian, which hit us as a tropical storm in late September. The most dramatic video came from our crews in St. Augustine.
Ian crashed waves into coastal homes, nearly washing one away in Summer Haven.
The storm threw tree branches across the way and toppled signs. Most notably, the storm put St. Augustine under water starting dark and early.
Meteorologist Lew Turner reported on a rogue sailboat slamming into the sea wall. It was eventually tied off and later removed from the water.
By daylight, the main road in downtown St. Augustine blended in with the river.
“This is as bad as it’s gotten here on Avenida Menendez,” Turner reported. “This is where I’ve been live all morning. Now, what was sidewalk is now mid-shin.”
Powerlines were dangling, homes were flooded, and crews were working overtime to get everything back in order.
Before the first coast could bounce back, we were bracing for Tropical Storm Nicole.
Nicole hit just says after election day. The storm caused flooding across downtown Jacksonville into San Marco and east. Most notably, Vilano Beach and St. Augustine really took a beating.
“Today was an especially difficult day,’ one homeowner in Vilano Beach opened up. “About 6 am, I thought our roof was going to fly off and I asked my wife to go downstairs so we could be a little more safe on what’s going on. But I believe this storm was probably the worst since Matthew in my opinion.”
Nicole brought the wind, rain, and storm surge wiping away a good chunk of A1A.
“When you see this scene right here, what is going through your mind right now?” First Coast News reporter Tristan Hardy asked a local in Vilano Beach.
“Well it’s just awful because this highway is what everybody from Vilano to Ponte Vedra uses to get to St. Augustine,’ the local explained. “You can see at least half the highway is gone from 300 yards and it’s going to be a lot of inconvenience for a lot of people for a while.”
Into St. Augustine, the scene was eerily familiar to Ian.
“Flooding is very much becoming an issue right now. Over my shoulder here is A1A in Davis Shores,” First Coast News reporter Rich Donnelly showed up a neighborhood underwater.
Businesses flooded as well.
“It’s about what we expected,” one business owner said. “It looks like what Ian did. Maybe a little less water than Ian.”
St. Augustine was under water hoping to recover quick enough for one of their biggest events of the year: Nights of Lights. Spoiler alert: They did it!
“That’s probably my favorite thing about living here is the way the community rallies around each other and takes care of one another,” a St. Augustine business owner said.
We can’t forget about flooding on Ken Knight Drive. Some residents evacuated to the shelter.
Up in Georgia, St. Simons Island got a brunt of the storm and other neighborhoods saw flooding.
There was also significant dune damage following both storms from St. Augustine up to Atlantic Beach. Experts don’t expect the dune to recover in time for next hurricane season.
Duval County’s dune nourishment project by the Army Corps of Engineers won’t happen until 2024.
Nicole is gone, but her problems are here to stay.