This was the result of storm surge and torrential rains swelling the banks of the St. Johns River at the tail end of Irma. The worst of the storm was over and Ashley and I decided it was safe for us to check on his Dad's house, so we hopped in the Jeep and headed over. We decided to take a detour and see how Riverside had handled the storm. Since moving to Jacksonville over 12 years ago, I've heard stories about Andrew and Dora. Ashley would tell me about water in the streets From Riverside Ave. to the river. This was much worse. Irma brought record flooding.
This sculpture stands in a 5.85 acre public park dedicated as a memorial to the 1,200 Floridians who died in WW1. The park was designed by the Olmsted Brothers who also designed the Biltmore Estate. The bronze sculpture called "Life" was created by Charles Adrian Pillars. The park was completed in 1924 and is the third oldest park in the city. The sculpture sits in the middle of a basin of swirling water channels which is raised a couple of feet above the large brick paved landing overlooking the river. I'm guessing, but it's normally about 40 feet from the basin to the decorative concrete wall the prevents people from waling into the river. The wall is a series of urn like concrete columns that were probably three feet tall capped with a thick decorative concrete rail. This whole area sits on the edge of a huge open green space that is frequently used for soccer or frisbee. As you can see from the image, the crashing waves knocked the wall down and the majority of the green space was underwater.
When I took the picture we still had 40+mph winds. You can see the waves crashing and the wind blowing spray off the whitecaps. Below is a shot from the entrance to the park at the corner of Riverside and Margaret. You can see people braving the waves to walk out by the sculpture.
From here we headed west on Park st. until we got to Willow Branch Ave.. There's normally a small stream that leads to Mom's Park which overlooks a canal with homes on both sides. Rising waters in the St. John's had pushed up to overflow the banks of the stream. These next several images show the conditions a little after 2:00pm on the 11th.
It started raining again at this point, so we ran back to the Jeep and headed west again. Ashley wanted to check out Greenwood Ave. where his Grandfather used to live. It sits on the river and we remembered the road being underwater last year after Matthew. As you can see from the pic below, we weren't able to get close. The house was low enough that there was a couple of feet of water standing in the first floor.
It's Wednesday morning. We are still cleaning up debris and down trees, but we count ourselves lucky. We suffered no damage to our house and our power was only off for about 26 hours. There are thousands of our neighbors still without power and many also without water. The coastal flood warning will be in affect for another day, so there are people still dealing with encroaching water. There is a fuel shortage and the shelves are bare in the few grocery stores that have been able to re-open. People need help! #handinhand2017 Wal-Mart has promised to match 2X the donations collected by the Red Cross between 9/10 and 9/16, so help maximize relief efforts if you can.
This last pic is us cooking some soup, on the grill, using everything we could from the refrigerator before we had to throw it out. I refuse to call it Garbage Can Soup.
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"Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast, you also miss the sense of where you are going and why."
- Eddie Cantor