Storm evacuation zones updated for all First Coast counties

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- It's been two years since Tropical Storm Beryl caused flooding on the First Coast. Residents who may not have been evacuated then, may have to evacuate if there is a storm this year as emergency management agencies incorporate storm surge data into new evacuation zone plans.

A little rain doesn't hurt anyone, but when it pours residents along Black Creek in Middleburg brace themselves.

"If it rains six inches along 16 or Camp Blanding or whatever, that's when I'm really going to get it," said a resident who lives along the South Prong of Black Creek.

He goes by the nickname 'Bluegill' and says the most flooding he's ever seen was last May when a weather system dropped 8 ½ inches of rain in one night. He says the water came up to his first floor ceiling fans.

"I've lost everything I own in this house at least once, but the flood makes you smart, you learn, the kitchen is upstairs now," added Bluegill.

He lives in a flood way and will always be at risk, but this year new storm surge information released by the National Hurricane Center has changed evacuation zones.

"As technology improves, we have the ability to refine and get better data," said John Ward, Deputy Director, Clay County Division of Emergency Management.

Several counties including St. Johns added a zone 'F' to their evacuation plan. In Nassau County, evacuation zones now reach the Westside of the county, along the St. Mary's river and everything east of the Shave Bridge.

Duval residents along the coastal areas are seeing their risk level increase. Evacuation zones are no longer by category of the storm, but by letter.

"As we saw with Tropical Storm Beryl and Tropical Storm Debby it doesn't necessarily have to be a hurricane," added Ward.

Bluegill's backyard and driveway were completely underwater last May. There was no named storm, just rain causing record flooding for the south prong

"This is an island, well it's an island till the island goes under," said Bluegill.

To learn what evacuation zone you are in, go to your county's emergency management website. To sign up for code red alerts to find out when your zone is being evacuated, click on your county below.

The official start of Hurricane season is June 1.



St. Johns









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