‘This was solid sand:’ Nor’easter breaches dune in St. Johns Co., repairs estimated at $1.11 million

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — St. Johns County is working on fixing storm damage caused by the Nor’easter storm which began on Friday, Nov. 5 and continued into Tuesday, Nov. 9.

You can take a look at the extent of those damages here in this report from St. Johns County:

One of those areas hardest hit was Summer Haven, right off old A1A.

“All of this was solid sand,” said Lola Newman as she pointed to the area where a dune was breached and the Summer Haven river now connects with an ocean stream.

She lives a mile north, but constantly visits this stretch of beach.

“Nobody was surprised around here,” Newman said, adding that she worries about the long-term effects of this storm, and those that have come before it.

“It’s just changed the whole dynamics of that particular area,” she pointed out.

George Miller says he got stuck across from this stream of water when a higher tide hit.

“Sunk in my knees, backed off,” he explained.

He then said police had to come get him.

“[Officers] came down, shined a light, told me to walk as far as I could [the other] way, met me down, drove me around to get back to the other end,” he recalled.

St. Johns County had a contractor assess repairs from the storm damage and estimated it would take $1.11 million to close the breach.

During a meeting Tuesday night (HYPERLINK: https://stjohnscountyfl.new.swagit.com/videos/148247), St. Johns County said it would go over more permanent solutions with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

“Whatever we can do to help the residents there,” said Commissioner Jeremiah Ray Blocker, who represents District 4.

Neighbors, however, are uncertain of what those should be.

“I have no idea what it’s gonna take,” Newman admitted.

In the meantime, St. Johns County Commissioners unanimously passed a motion so neighbors can build protection around their homes, like a temporary seawall.

“We’re helping the residents immediately but the long-term fix is going through DEP,” said Joseph Giammanco, Director of Emergency Management for St. Johns County.

County staff did not offer specifics during this meeting about what this protection would be made of, but Giammanco said that this construction would need to be approved by the DEP as well.

Despite the work ahead, visitors are back enjoying this summer haven next door, knowing this storm at least has passed.

“The weather is beautiful,” Newman said as she smiled up at the sun. “[With the exception of] storms, it’s very nice.”

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