Matthew washes away 350 feet of Jax Beach Pier

Pier closed indefinitely; DEP assessing damage to dunes

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Hurricane Matthew's storm surge and massive waves washed away 350 of the Jacksonville Beach Pier, city manager George Forbes confirmed.

Forbes said he was surprised to discover that even some of the concrete pilings were gone. 

City of Jacksonville CEO Sam Mousa told City Council Tuesday night that engineers and divers would assess the damage and determine if what’s left of the pier is safe. They also need to figure out if the end of the pier that was taken off is at the bottom of the ocean or if it washed away.

Jacksonville Beach Mayor Charlie Latham said the pier will remain closed until the damage can be assessed.

There is no word yet on the estimated cost of the damage to the Jacksonville Beach Pier or when repairs will begin. 

PHOTOS: Hurricane Matthew's aftermath

The eyewall of Hurricane Matthew on Friday afternoon had sustained winds of 110 mph as it passed about 40 miles east of Jacksonville Beach, making Matthew an extremely dangerous Category 2 hurricane.

The storm sent water over the dunes and inland to at least 2nd Street. 

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection told News4Jax Monday that inspectors had completed initial surveys of damage to structures and dunes and they will not determine loss and erosion estimates. 

"Once these assessments are complete, these results will be evaluated along with beach profile surveys completed by local project sponsors to estimate actual sand volumes lost and project costs to restore impacted beaches resulting from Hurricane Matthew. This will all be formalized in a post-storm assessment report that will be completed over the next month or so," said DEP spokesperson Dee Ann Miller.

Christina Mishew, who lives along Jacksonville Beach, said she had hoped the dunes would help to save her home, but instead, the dunes were just washed away and her home was flooded.

"I thought they would be more of a buffer, but they weren't," Mishew said. "I'm just hoping they will be rebuilt one day."

Hurricane Floyd, a massive Category 4 storm, skirted up Florida's east coast in 1999, causing significant damage and destroying the Jacksonville Beach Pier. The pier had to be completely rebuilt. It reopened in 2004 with some structural differences to help it stay standing the next time a hurricane comes through.

MORE: Hurricane Matthew's size, track reminiscent of Floyd in 1999