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Residents remain despite evacuation order in St. Augustine

Sandbags and plywood board up storefronts and shop windows along the Matanzas River and people are still in town.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — The evacuation order for the city of St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach and areas along the coast impacts more than 20,000 people. But First Coast News teams saw no heavy traffic leaving the city Tuesday morning.

People were out in downtown St. Augustine getting their businesses ready for the storm.

"How many sandbags have you loaded up this morning?" First Coast News asked workers at Harry's Restaurant.

"Probably a good couple hundred," replied Scout Harden.

The people downtown are used to flooding. Sandbags and plywood board up storefronts and shop windows along the Matanzas River.

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"We generally close the whole building up," said Charles McHone, who owns a roofing and waterproofing company. "The rest of the barricades is to keep the splashing water off the sidewalk and out of the buildings. We're worried about the traffic and wave of water that it pushes into the buildings."

McHone chose not to evacuate the area.

"My job and the people that rely on me here," he answered as his reason for staying. "I stayed, yes."

Seeking higher ground, drivers took advantage of the free parking through Saturday inside the Historic Downtown Parking garage on Cordova Street. Some drivers took the yellow parking lines as a suggestion.

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"Yeah we're gonna park our car here," said JD Dunlap who lives in St. Augustine Beach. "Both cars, actually."

Dunlap also chose not to evacuate.

"I have a one-year-old son and I don't feel like driving 10 to 12 hours with a one-year-old," he said.

Therefore, evacuation order or not, these people remain in St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach.

"I think we're ready for the storm to come," McHone said.

Ready or not, more bad weather is on its way. Follow the latest with Hurricane Ian here.

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