FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. - Despite threatening far worse, Hurricane Dorian inflicted minimal damage Wednesday as it swept pass Nassau County on its way up the East Coast.
As emergency management crews combed the streets Thursday, they found only six homes with minor damage throughout Amelia Island. The barrier island was mostly untouched besides the occasional downed tree.
“We have seen minor beach erosion in the areas we have checked so far,” Emergency Management Director Greg Foster said at a Thursday news briefing. “We continue to assess the beach status.”
Evacuation orders for coastal and low-lying areas of the county were lifted hours earlier and those displaced by the storm were allowed to return home. The county also closed its emergency shelters. As part of those measures, the county scaled back staffing at its emergency operations center.
There was minor flooding and standing water along State Road 200, the county’s arterial road, because of ongoing construction, but crews were able to mop that up without any problems.
Because there was so little damage, the county will not be collecting storm debris and it won’t be accepted at the county’s recycling facility. Instead, officials recommend that residents check with their garbage hauler or a private recycling center about getting rid of it for a price.
Government offices, the county courthouse and schools remained closed on Thursday, but they will reopen on Friday. As will Baptist Medical Center Nassau at 3 p.m. Friday.
The biggest undertaking for county crews has been the effort to remove 60 loads of sand that were placed at beach accesses on the island to reinforce the dune system, the island’s natural defense against storm surge and floodwaters. Foster expects that work to be completed sometime Friday.
“We had to bring all the sand in for preparation for the storm coming in to keep the surge from washing out all of the (sea) oats,” equipment operator Byron Taylor said, adding that once the sand is removed, it will be hauled over to Yulee where it will be deposited in a county yard.
Families and individuals who stocked up on sandbags to shore up their home defenses should inspect the bags to see if any were exposed to water, Foster said. He said contaminated bags should be emptied and thrown away, but those that stayed dry can be safely stored for future use.
Residents looking to get rid of their debris can contact the Sandhill Recycle Center, located at 153326 County Road 108 in Yulee, a private company that charges fees for waste disposal. To reach the center, call 904-225-2801. To contact the county’s roads department, dial 904-530-6175.
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