Living in St. Augustine, residents enjoy proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the beauty of north Florida’s natural environment. But along with these benefits come natural hazards.
Flooding is one of the most common risks to Florida residents living in floodplains, and in St. Augustine, 90% of residents live in a floodplain. As the Oldest City in the United States, St. Augustine has aging and undersized infrastructure. St. Augustine is prone to flooding from normal rainfall coinciding with peak tides, tidal surges accompanying coastal storms, tropical storms and hurricanes, as well as overbank flooding from rivers, creeks and tributaries. Localized heavy rainfalls can cause flooding due to the poor drainage qualities of some soils. Some of the water bodies in St. Augustine that could be affected by storms are the following:
- Hospital Creek
- Maria Sanchez Lake
- Matanzas Bay
- Oyster Creek
- Salt Run
- San Sebastian River
The barrier islands such as Anastasia Island across Matanzas Bay provide some protection from storms, however, as the island developed, wetlands filled in and trees cut down, the ability of this habitat to absorb the brunt of storms deteriorated.
Flooding in the Area
View floodings in the area over the years:
- Heavy rains in 1994 flooded schools, businesses and residences.
- In September 1995, widespread flooding occurred because of more than 5 1/2 inches of rain in a 24 hour period.
- In December 1997, heavy rains produced widespread flooding across northeast Florida.
- A flood in July 1998 closed some city streets.
- A flood in September 1999 flooded several streets and homes.
- In September 2001, Tropical Storm Gabrielle brought 6 1/2 inches of rain to St. Augustine, closing numerous roads and causing $900,000 in property damages.
- A flash flood in August 2003 made roads impassable and flooded at least three homes in St. Johns County.
- Tropical Storm Fay caused heavy flooding in August 2008.
- Heavy rainfall and an above normal high tide in May 2009 also caused serious flooding.
- Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 caused flooding throughout Davis Shores, Lincolnville, the Historic Districts, and parts of Abbott Tract.
- In September 2017, Hurricane Irma created flooding in the same areas as Hurricane Matthew.