Flooding forces closures in St. Augustine, including Bridge of Lions

Police ask drivers to avoid Davis Shores area, use alternate routes

Flooding on A1A near the Bridge of Lions shows why police shut down roads and the bridge on Saturday. (WJXT)

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – As a nor’easter continued to pummel the coastlines of Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia on Saturday morning, the major king tide flooding in the St. Augustine area forced closures of several roads and shut down the Bridge of Lions, according to News 6 partner WJXT-TV.

The St. Augustine Beach Police Department said King Street from Ponce De Leon to Malaga is closed.

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Drivers were asked to avoid the Davis Shores area and use alternate routes if possible.

Sandra Long was visiting friends in the Davis Shores area Saturday.

“I hate it for people who live over here,” Long said. “It’s rough over here.”

Police warned drivers NOT to attempt to drive through flooded areas.

NWS Jacksonville shared videos taken by a meteorologist of widespread tidal flooding in St. Augustine on Saturday, warning drivers that most flood fatalities are vehicle-related.

News4Jax spotted brutal waves pounding Vilano Beach ahead of the highest tide point Saturday morning. Beach erosion was already visible as the water crashed onto the dunes.

Despite the flooding conditions on the streets, though, the tourist trolleys in St. Augustine were still operating Saturday.

Last night, the minor half of the king tide occurred about 9:40 p.m.

nor’easter dumped rain across the area most of Friday. News4Jax saw crews trimming back some of the trees and clearing debris. Some business owners in the area told News4Jax that they’re not expecting the floods to last too long and aren’t anticipating any closures.

But the weather did slow down business for Vanessa Franco at Le Macaron, known for its French pastries and desserts.

“I had to walk to work this morning. I got completely soaked,” Franco said. “We’ve had a lot less customers because no one wants to be out. The people that are out I’m just pouring hot coffee and just trying to stay warm.”

News4Jax crews spotted vessels out on the water, weathering the strong winds. One boat was pinned up against the retaining wall, and heavy winds and rough waters sent sailboats crashing into the Bridge of Lions overnight. Those winds have caused some isolated damage.

On Florida Avenue in St. Augustine, a massive section of a tree collapsed onto two homes, one of which appeared to have taken the brunt of the impact. According to first responders, no one was home at the time and there were no injuries.

The St. Augustine fire chief told News4Jax earlier in the day Friday that they’ had been called to help five boats since Thursday. No injuries were reported. Also earlier Friday, there was some flooding near the Castillo de San Marcos, as well as Lake Maria Sanchez, just south of downtown.

If you live or have any vehicles or property along the coastal areas of Vilano Beach and up and down St. Augustine, plan for significant flooding on Saturday.

This marks the third time in the last six years that we’re likely to see water levels like this. The first two were during hurricanes Matthew and Irma.

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Joe covers education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.