Clay County residents pick up sandbags to protect homes

County encourages people to stay off roads & school district cancels summer programs due to Elsa

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Clay County Emergency Management encouraged residents to make sure their homes are prepared ahead of Elsa.

In a Facebook post Tuesday, Emergency Management urged people to stay off the roads that evening. In addition, 40 to 50 Clay County deputies were mapped out throughout the county on Tuesday night to patrol.

“The less people on the road, the less issues we have to deal with,” Deputy Jason Freeland, with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office Task Force Unit, said while News4Jax road along with him. “The best thing for residents on a night like this is to stay home. So it’s always better in situations when we have natural events, storms, especially here in Florida, to stay home. It keeps you from potential harm and it makes our job easier because we’re helping curtail issues that are out now and try to take care of the current problems.”

Flooding isn’t expected in the creek basins, but low-lying areas that are prone to flooding could experience high waters, according to Emergency Management.

Emergency Management said residents should prepare for potential power outages.

Freeland said he and his fellow deputies are ready.

“When we’re out riding around during storms, we’re looking out for potential road hazards or things that may come up later on,” Freeland said. “We respond to power lines. I’m sure Clay Electric and the utility companies have units on call and on standby as well. One of our functions is if it causes a road blockage, we’ll try to get out and try to prevent any incidents on the roadways before any crashes occur or any other further damage.”

Tropical Storm Elsa update; July 6, 2021 at 12:10 p.m. Key takeaways: • Clay County will be under a tropical storm...

Posted by Clay County, Florida Emergency Management on Tuesday, July 6, 2021

THE LATEST: Elsa | WHAT TO EXPECT: Forecasting Elsa’s impact on Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia | TRACKING THE TROPICS: Interactive map

Clay County offered sandbags from noon to 6 p.m. at Omega Park at 4317 County Road 218 in Middleburg -- where three truckloads of sand weighing 18 to 20 tons per load were dumped.

Sandbags were limited to 10 per vehicle.

Chad Nettles was among those who stopped to pick up sandbags. He said his property has had enough water as it is after recent rains and he hopes Elsa won’t make it worse.

“We’re already flooded now as it is. This rain coming in is really going to put a hamper on us,” Nettles told News4Jax. “We’ve got a creek that runs through the backyard and it’s already full. It’s 3-feet deep and it’s over the banks already, so we’re just a little worried that we’re going to get a lot of water.”

Stacy Hopf also picked up sandbags, hoping to keep water from her home.

“We are worried. We just bought a house, so my husband said, ‘Stacy, take your son and get some sandbags because we have a lot of erosion,’” Hopf said. “So, yeah, we’re worried about a lot of flooding.”

Clay County District Schools said all summer programs, including meal services and extracurricular activities, will be canceled Wednesday due to inclement weather expected from Elsa. All schools and district offices will be closed.

The school district said it looks forward to reopening Thursday.

Clay County government offices delay opening

Clay County Board of County Commissioners government offices and facilities will delay opening until noon Wednesday, at minimum, as a precaution for Elsa. This includes the County Administration Building services, Tax Collector Office, Property Appraiser Office and Supervisor of Elections Office.

All public library branches closed at 6 p.m. Tuesday and will delay opening until noon Wednesday, at a minimum.

The shelter at Clay County Animal Services will be closed all day on Wednesday and resume operations on Thursday.

All reservations for cabin rentals and overnight stays at Camp Chowenwaw County Park have been canceled for Tuesday night and through Wednesday evening. The pool at Camp Chowenwaw is also closed on Wednesday, and the YMCA day camp is canceled for Wednesday.

The Rosemary Hill Solid Waste Management Facility will delay opening until noon Wednesday, at a minimum. The Environmental Convenience Centers are normally closed on Wednesday and will open on Thursday as regularly scheduled.

Waste Management will not be collecting garbage, recyclables and yard waste on Wednesday due to predicted heavy rains, winds and possible street flooding. Collection will resume on Thursday, beginning with Wednesday’s routes. Anticipate a one-day delay in the collection schedule for garbage and recycling. Thursday’s routes will be collected on Friday, and Friday’s routes will be collected on Saturday.

Clay County Sheriff’s Office closing administrative offices

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said all of its administrative offices will be closed Wednesday.

In-person jail visitation will also be closed Wednesday.

No trash collection Wednesday in Orange Park

The town of Orange Park said that due to Elsa, there will be no garbage, recycling or yard waste collection service on Wednesday.

Residential customers will be serviced on a one-day delay for the remainder of the week. (Wednesday customers will be serviced Thursday. Thursday customers will be serviced Friday. Friday customers will be serviced Saturday)

Commercial and roll-off customers will have a delay in service of up to one day.

Due to Tropical Storm Elsa, there will be no garbage, recycling or yard waste collection service on Wednesday, July...

Posted by Town of Orange Park on Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Keystone Heights City Hall closed Wednesday

Keystone Heights City Hall will be closed until noon on Thursday due to Elsa.

The city encourages residents to bring in their trash cans and recycle bins on Tuesday, as well as anything else that may get picked up in high winds, and to be prepared for power outages that may occur.

Green Cove Springs City Hall delays opening

Green Cove Springs City Hall will delay opening until noon Wednesday, at a minimum, as a precaution for Elsa.

Green Cove Springs Police Department and crews from the Electric Department and Public Works Department will be on call to respond to emergencies during and immediately after Elsa passes Green Cove Springs.

The city will continue to keep residents updated on its response to Elsa through its website, TextMyGov service, and its social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Nextdoor. Any residents wishing to get alerts via mobile phone can text GCSWEATHER to 91896.

Residents can report power outages or storm damage to Green Cove Springs Police Department’s non-emergency line by calling 904-297-7300. Residents can also report any damage or power outages by texting STORM DAMAGE to 904-560-5116. This will prompt a link to an online report form that residents can fill out and submit to the city, which will be added to the city’s Damage Assessment Dashboard as part of the GCS GeoHub system at Residents can access this map to view all reported damages and outages within City Limits in real-time.

About the Authors:

Corley Peel is a Texas native and Texas Tech graduate who covered big stories in Joplin, Missouri, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Jacksonville, Florida before returning to the Lone Star State. When not reporting, Corley enjoys hot yoga, Tech Football, and finding the best tacos in town.