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Jacksonville spared the worst of Idalia, city still has cleaning up to do

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — While Jacksonville dodged the worst of the storm, the city still suffered significant damage.

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Memorial Park in Riverside suffered some of the worst impacts from Idalia in Duval County. The park is no stranger to flooding, but the damage sustained was substantial.

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From intense waves and storm surge in Riverside to almost total destruction of property in Springfield, there is plenty of repair and cleanup to be done in Jacksonville.

“I’ve never seen the waves act this crazy before at all,” Jacksonville resident Paris Robinson said. “I’ve seen hurricanes come but not like this. You can actually feel the wind blowing.”

The St. Johns River crashed up and over the cement balustrade at Memorial Park. Now, the city said they have some work to do.

“We’ve had problems with that wall before,” Mayor Donna Deegan said during a briefing. “And that was basically the wind and wave action going over the top of that, knocked that down. That will need repairs.”

READ: Idalia: Northeast Florida, Southeast Georgia school reopening information

The railing had previously been knocked down during Hurricane Irma in 2017. It took almost four years for the city to make repairs to it.

Further north in Springfield, an old abandoned building almost lost an entire roof on Walnut Street.

“We just heard a loud boom, blood went cold, smoke everywhere,” a Walnut resident said. “Looked at the window, the entire building had fallen over.”

Neighbors said a gust of wind came through Wednesday afternoon, causing bricks to fall, glass to shatter and a dust storm to roll through.

“Stuff on the porch didn’t even move, but that whole thing fell, so it’s a little horrifying,” another Walnut Street resident said.

READ: Clean-up efforts from Idalia wind gusts already started in Lake City

City officials who surveyed the damage said this building is more than 100 years old. It has also been condemned for years, raising safety concerns among nearby residents.

“Someone could have been walking by, a car could have been driving through,” neighbor Earl Anderson said. “And it could have been injuries or even death as a result of this building being in the condition that it’s in.”

Luckily, no injuries were reported in that area. But now, those neighbors want that building to be demolished.

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JEA reported more than 85,000 power outages in its coverage area today. About 90 percent of customers were fully restored as of 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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