JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Life was returning back to normal Thursday for most people in Florida after Hurricane Dorian swept up the state's East Coast, and for the first time, we got a view from Sky 4 of the Northeast Florida coastline and the effects of the storm surge created by the Category 2 storm.
From Neptune Beach to Flagler Beach, the aerial tour showed that most of the coastline was spared. Some areas, however, did experience some erosion during the height of the storm surge.
The look from the air revealed that at the Jacksonville Beach Pier, which sustained considerable damage during Hurricane Matthew in 2016, the reinforced structure stood strong in the face of Dorian's monstrous waves.
You could notice missing boards in the pier. But those were intentionally removed before the hurricane so the pier could absorb and bend under the strength of the sea.
In the same area, bulldozers could be seen removing sand that was intentionally placed in front of the walkovers days ago to decrease the chance of erosion.
Farther south, along Jacksonville Beach, we saw the new sea oats plants survived the hurricane-force winds and the high water line did not appear to have gone over the dunes.
It was noticeable from the air that there wasn't a lot of debris in the ocean or even on the coastline and in beachside homeowners' backyards.
Farther south, near Mickler's Landing in St. Johns County, however, we did see some minor erosion, with the waves stealing some of the sand in the area and replenishing the sand elsewhere. For the most part, natural sand dunes remained intact in the Ponte Vedra Beach area.
What was also apparent from the air were rip currents, which are created by large waves that punch holes in the sandbars and then the water funnels faster through the holes and out to sea. It's the reason why lifeguards warned swimmers to be aware and not to fight the current, but instead, swim parallel to shore.
In the area of Vilano Beach, aerial footage showed storm waters had receded and the coastline looked as if it did not suffer a lot of erosion. Homeowners there had been under a mandatory evacuation order, as it was feared that the storm surge would cause substantial damage. Fortunately, that did not occur.
Continuing south near the Guana Preserve, homeowners who had manmade barriers constructed to protect their properties appeared to suffer little or no damage at all, while homeowners without any barriers saw some minor erosion. It's unclear if the damage to one home was done during a previous storm or if Hurricane Dorian was to blame. The house sits just a few miles north of the coastline where storm waters breached A1A in Summer Haven on Wednesday.
On Thursday, you could see the waters had receded and the ocean is much calmer than just 24 hours ago.
Farther south in Flagler County, Sky 4 drone video captured what the Flagler Beach pier looked liked before Hurricane Dorian passed by the coastline. According to the Flagler Beach Police Department, the pier may have suffered structural damage during the height of Hurricane Dorian. Engineers could be seen Thursday inspecting the pier that was originally built in 1928. The city manager said Thursday that things were looking good and the pier was expected to reopen Friday.
During Hurricane Matthew in 2016, ocean waves destroyed an estimated 160 feet of the pier. It was rebuilt and reopened the following year.
Though Hurricane Dorian passed Northeast Florida with all its fury, the storm was about 100 miles offshore Wednesday when it moved along that part of the state's coast.