By Shannon Dunnigan
In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, as the pictures and videos flood news networks and social media, we are all patiently [and not so patiently] waiting for our local authorities to provide us the green light to make our way back into our communities and homes. The bridges going to Jacksonville Beach and the 210 Palm Valley bridge opened today at 12noon. Many of the bridges in St. Johns County opened today at 4pm; however, the SR 206 Bridge to Anastasia Island (Crescent Beach) was discovered to have unforeseen structural damage and will remain closed pending any repairs.
Power and electricity are currently being worked on and restored into these coastal communities. The cities of St. Augustine and Jacksonville Beach have already begun cleanup efforts and many local organizations are planning future volunteer cleanup efforts.
The GTM weather station recorded maximum wind speeds yesterday, as Matthew passed along St. Augustine, as high as 65 mph. Many of the high gusts were recorded in the middle of the day. Additionally, there was a cumulative rainfall of 5.6 inches yesterday. A nearby Florida Department of Environmental Protection station, located at Bing’s Landing boat ramp, recorded wind speeds as high as 61.5 mph and water levels as high as 5.81 ft within the Matanzas River Intracoastal Waterway.Hopefully our water quality stations survived the storm surge!
We intend to further look at the effects of Hurricane Matthew on water quality and weather within the estuaries along the eastern coast of the United States in the future once our slice of Florida is cleaned up and life gets going again.
Stay safe and be cautious during the post-hurricane cleanup efforts everyone. Be careful of standing water and debris! It is recommended to boil water for a minimum of 48 hours after service is restored as a precaution. Check your local government and utilities for future notifications! Some are listed below: