The floodwaters had receded by midday on Tuesday, but it was hardly business as usual in downtown Jacksonville, where business owners and electrical crews were assessing damages.
Hurricane Irma, which tore through Jacksonville in the early morning hours on Monday, left its mark virtually everywhere along Bay Street stretching toward the Northbank Riverwalk. It was reflected in strewn debris, flood damaged storefronts and the still-swollen St. Johns River, which lapped over the steps leading to the Riverwalk’s various gazebos.
The Wells Fargo Center, an iconic piece of the city skyline, showed window damage. More than a day after the river invaded it, the building’s underground garage remained closed.
Nearby, JEA crews worked to restore an underground transformer vault. It was designed, they said, to withstand some flooding, but yesterday, the pump simply took water out of the vault and spurted it back on top of the water cascading inside.
Bay Street businesses such as the Cowford Chophouse, which has struggled with challenges associated with renovating the historic building that houses it, were inundated with floodwaters during the storm. On Tuesday, the cleanup process had begun, but the business’s owner declined to comment on the extent of the damage.
Next door, an entire work crew hung out on chairs and benches outside the Bold City Brewery’s relatively new taproom. The flooding damage was minor thanks to sandbags, they said, and the business anticipated opening as soon as that night.
The Jacksonville Landing, which had functioned as a swimming pool full of riverwater on Monday, appeared to slowly returning to normal. At least two businesses there were open, but the property was dotted with various relics washed ashore by Monday’s swollen river.
SLIDESHOWS: IRMA'S AFTERMATH
Ben Conarck: (904) 359-4103