Heavy winds, rain bring storm damage, power outages; Mathews Bridge closed

A tree brought down by wind gusts from Tropical Storm Beryl nearly misses an East Arlington home.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - As the first heavy winds and rain from Tropical Storm Beryl struck northeast Florida on Sunday evening, reports of damage and power outages began to come in, and winds above 40 mph forced the closure of the Mathews Bridge.

As of 10 p.m., about 12,000 JEA customers in various areas in Jacksonville were without power. Among those areas were Arlington, Atlantic and Neptune beaches, downtown, Mandarin, the Garden City and Ribault areas of the Northside, Orange Park, Riverside, San Jose, the San Souci area of the Southside and the Picketville and Steelbald areas of the Westside.

There were reports of down trees, power poles and power lines throughout those parts of town.

A police cruiser crashed through a fence outside a home on Peabody Drive on the Westside in a crash that may have been weather related. According to a witness, the cruiser hit a wet spot, hydroplaned, hit a pole and then went through the fence. There was no word on any injuries.

Westbound lanes of Wonderwood Bridge in Mayport were closed due to a downed light pole just after 9 p.m. Sunday.

To view power outages across town, go to JEA's website. Florida Power and Light Company customers can check FPL's website.

The city of Jacksonville's help line, 904-630-CITY (2489) will be staffed overnight to help answer residents' storm questions and take reports about downed tree limbs and other problems.

Residents who see downed power lines should exercise extreme caution and call 911. Other questions and concerns about power outages should be directed to JEA at 904-665-6000.

Garbage collection is cancelled for Monday. City officials ask that residents do not place their trash cans on the curb because of the heavy winds forecast in the area. Pickup is being rescheduled for Saturday.

The city has established shelters at the Legends Center at Soutel and Moncrief in Northwest Jacksonville for residents who depend on electricity or for anyone who believes it's necessary to seek shelter.

Check JaxReady.org for storm information.

All incoming and outgoing flights at Jacksonville International Airport except for two flights each with JetBlue and Delta were cancelled for Sunday night and Monday morning. Information is available online at www.flyjax.com or by calling individual airlines for specific information regarding schedules for Monday.

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority suspended bus operations serving the Beaches on Sunday night. JTA said all inland bus routes will continue to operate normally, with the exception of stops scheduled for any area east of the Intracoastal Waterway. Beaches service will resume when the weather conditions are safe to do so, officials said.

Customers may call JTA Dispatch at 904-632-5542 for additional service information.

Copyright 2012 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.