St. Augustine, Florida — Brad Melvin spent Wednesday piling sandbags and securing his home on Anastasia Island as he prepares to ride out Hurricane Ian

“Part of it was, I had to work,” Melvin, a registered investment representative, said of why he decided to stay instead of evacuate. “I also wanted to protect my house.” 

As the monstrous hurricane pummels the west coast of Florida, residents in the central and northeast sections are preparing for extreme flooding and high winds to arrive in the next 24 hours. A mandatory evacuation order went into effect for St. Augustine at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning. 

“On Thursday, it will be very windy, very rainy and there will be a significant amount of water covering most of the roadways,” said St. Augustine fire chief Carlos Aviles. 

Aviles said the city may have to close the bridge from St. Augustine to Anastasia Island “several times because of flood waters.” 

During Hurricane Irma in 2017, almost 400 gallons of sewage leaked into the water during power failures. The city has since spent millions to prevent that from happening again. 

Melvin’s wife, Jaren, and their two young daughters are also getting ready to ride out the storm. 

“I’m a little nervous, but hopefully everything will be fine,” Jaren Melvin said. 

Forecasters are expecting more than 15 inches of rain and up to five feet of storm surge in the area through Friday. If the Melvins are flooded out of their home, they say they have a kayak and a boat to get them to higher ground. 


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