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Black Creek, hit hard by Irma, prepares for Hurricane Ian

Evacuation orders in Clay County include the area around Black Creek. Flooding is a common occurrence when storms roll through the area.

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. — Evacuation orders in Clay County include the area around Black Creek and, as residents know, flooding is a common occurrence when storms roll through the area, especially during Irma. 

And it's a storm forecasters believe Hurricane Ian will resemble.

Residents living along Black Creek spent Tuesday getting their boats out of the water and onto land, packing up patio furniture, and helping neighbors prepare. They say after the impact of Irma they refuse to let flooding from the creek cause the same devastation. 

“It was a complete disaster and tremendous flooding. It was coming in at a rate of about a foot every 30 minutes. It was coming in on a set fast,” Middleberg resident Duane Yale said. 

RELATED: If you live in St. Augustine, here's what you need to know ahead of Hurricane Ian

Yale said he lives on Black Creek and his home flooded after Irma causing thousands of dollars in damage. He said he’s lived on the creek for more than 20 years and it was something he had never experienced before.  

“We had to get the whole home and strip out everything. Everything that went underwater, just rip it out. Basically, rebuild, start over,” Yale said. 

His home renovation took nine months and others on his street had to rebuild from the ground up. Clay County Emergency Management officials said Black Creek experienced record floods at that time and they predict Ian will also make an impact but not as great as Irma did.  

“We are going to have a lot of homes flooded unless we see this system change drastically,” said Emergency Manager John Ward.

Yale said he is taking more precautions this year and hopes his home can survive the impact of another major storm. 

RELATED: Tampa Bay-area evacuations for Hurricane Ian: See county-by-county list

“I really don't want to go through that again. To be honest, I mean, that was a bad, bad situation,” Yale said. 

Clay County Emergency Management officials said the water levels in both the north and south forks of the river are low, but they do expect those levels to rise. Emergency management officials also said they rescued more than 300 people from their homes along Black Creek after Irma. 

This time, they are telling everyone living in flood zones A, B, and C to begin evacuating by Wednesday at noon.

RELATED: List | Know your evacuation zone ahead of a hurricane

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