Clay County asks boaters to stay off water because of debris from Nicole

Families pick up pieces, start drying out after Nicole floods homes

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Clay County officials asked boaters to avoid all of the county’s waterways Friday as the Clay County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit worked to clear debris left in the wake of Nicole.

Officials said the debris made it unsafe for boating.

“We don’t want anyone to get hurt,” they said.

The Marine Unit is out on the water Friday clearing any debris they find.

A countywide damage assessment was planned for Friday after significant flooding events at Black Creek, Doctors Inlet and other areas along the St. Johns River.

Photo from Doctors Lake area during Nicole on Nov. 10, 2022.

On Friday at Doctors Lake, the water was rushing in onto the grass. The water got so high it reached a nearby house a distance from the lake.

Dennis Steed said he underestimated Nicole. The storm flooded his son’s home off Creighton Road.

“It made it to the front door. And when it made it to the front door, it was all over. And it just -- there was no stopping it,” Steed said.

You couldn’t see the floor. Murky water filled the kitchen and living room. Watermarks show it reached 10-12 inches.

“We just tried to see what we could salvage from what’s in here,” Steed said on Friday.

The floors were still damp, with leaves and debris everywhere.

Steed went outside and saw where it all came from -- a tree that had toppled because the ground was so moist, it uprooted just feet from the house.

“Could have destroyed the whole back of the house,” Steed said. “This is the grill right here; it smashed it to the ground.”

He said Nicole wasn’t like Ian or Irma, but it was much worse than he thought.

He’s frustrated about having to vacuum water out of his cars, but he’s grateful he, his son, and his neighbors are safe.

County leaders said Nicole was mainly a flooding event for the county and with the high and low tides, it’s expected to continue into the weekend.

During a Thursday afternoon news briefing, Emergency Operations Director Mike Ladd said the Clay County area had experienced about two-and-a-half inches of rain from the storm.

Trash pickup was delayed Thursday, and crews are picking up those routes Friday, officials said.

Anyone with yard waste is asked to put it out as soon as possible.

It will be picked up Friday and Saturday, and the county has a plan for claw trucks to pick up any remaining yard waste next week.

Residents can also take their yard waste to Rosemary Hill Solid Waste Management Facility from Nov. 11 through Nov. 21 with the yard waste fee waived.

Clay County District Schools announced that assessments of facilities were good Friday and all schools will reopen on Monday, Nov. 14.

Here are some SnapJax photos shared from the Clay County area from News4JAX Insiders:


Spring park green cove springs

Green Cove Springs
Sherry M

North Prong Black Creek


On Doctors Lake


Green cove springs

Green Cove Springs

Flooding at Doctors Lake boat ramp

Orange Park
Fleming Island

About the Author:

A Florida-born, Emmy Award winning journalist and proud NC A&T SU grad