Many Nassau Residents Still Trying to Dry Out The Storm Also Caused Up to 20 Percent Erosion on Beaches.
By WENDI ZONGKER
The water just kept rising.
Tropical Storm Fay dumped almost 20 inches of rain in Hilliard. And the swollen St. Marys River crested in Macclenny Monday at just over 21 feet, according to Nassau County Emergency Management. The waters began receding Wednesday with the National Weather Service reporting flood levels at just under 19 feet Thursday. Flood stage is 12 feet.
In Boulogne, it rained for 18 hours at the St. Marys River Fish Camp, owner Steve Beck said. Power was out for 12 hours once and again for 20 hours.
“This is three hurricanes’ worth of rain,” Beck said Monday. “It’s almost as bad as it was in 2004,” he said of the year four hurricanes pounded Florida.
By Wednesday the fish camp’s boat ramp was submerged. The water started receding Thursday, Beck said.
South along County Road 121, the St. Marys River swallowed Tompkins Landing with the only sign of a road being a submerged stop sign and telephone pole that locals said was at least a half mile from the boat ramp, which Nassau County Emergency Management closed.
Nassau County’s local state of emergency continues until Monday.
Okefenokee Electric estimates Tropical Storm Fay knocked out power for 3,500 customers in north and west Nassau for an average 48 hours, Manager of Operations Danny Thornton said.
Power outages began Aug. 21 and increased on Aug. 22, he said.
Procedures for restoring power in Nassau starts with power plants and main lines. Crews fan out from there, working on lines servicing large numbers of customers before moving on to individual streets, according to Thornton and the Florida Power and Light Web site.
FPL spokeswoman Heather Kirkendall had no figures for the number of Nassau customers who were without power.
“There were too many fluctuations as the storm was lingering for so many days,” she said.
The American Red Cross has set up a help station at the Callahan Volunteer Fire Department on U.S. 1. Contact Emergency Management to find out how long they will be there.
CLOSED AS OF THURSDAY
– Fouracre Circle
– A portion of Lee Stoner Road
– Kings Ferry boat ramp
– Scott’s Landing boat ramp
– Tompkins Landing boat ramp
Pickup will continue from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Yard waste must be cut, stacked and put on the curb. Debris will not be picked up from private property. Burning yard waste should follow local ordinances. The Division of Forestry must authorize burn piles greater than 8 feet in diameter. Burning household garbage, treated lumber, plastic, rubber such as tires, pesticides, pain and aerosol cans is illegal. Burning regulations can be found by contacting the Nassau County Emergency Management at 548-4980 or Nassau County Fire Rescue at 491-7525.
Emergency Management advises people to be aware of ants, snakes and other animals that could be in flooded water.
For flood assistance, contact the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office emergency number at 225-5174.
Fernandina Beach Mayor Bruce Malcolm said Tropical Storm Fay caused 15 to 20 percent erosion on Fernandina beaches.
The city has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since September to bring sand onto the city’s north beaches after several northeasters threatened the coast.
“If we had not done that beach renourishment, there’s no question in my mind we would have lost some houses out there,” Malcolm said.
Coastal Engineer Erik Olsen had a positive view of the storm’s impact, saying it helped the renourishment project.
Olsen said a large part of beach renourishment is getting the new sand to slope with existing sand, something he called equilibrium. He said that usually takes six to 12 months, but Tropical Storm Fay did the job for the corps.
“We were prepared for something much worse than occurred,” Olsen said.
Standing water breeds mosquitoes. And given that Tropical Storm Fay dumped heavy rains on Nassau County, it’s likely some residents have standing water in their backyard.
Amelia Island Mosquito Control District Operations Manager Bruce Hyers said extensive flooding in the Egans Creek Greenway in Fernandina Beach led crews Thursday to use airplanes to dump chemicals on the water to kill mosquito eggs. The area was too flooded for crews to get in there the traditional way by truck, Hyers said.
As far as mosquito control goes, Hyers recommends dumping standing water.
“If they have any water, call us and let us know,” he said. “Any problem at all concerning mosquitoes, give us a call.”
The Amelia Island Mosquito Control District serves Amelia Island, Piney Island and Marsh Lakes in O’Neil and can be reached at 261- 5283.TROPICAL STORM FAY IN NASSAU COUNTY1Death 2Injuries 31Flooded homes 13,000People who lost power
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