JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Powerful wind and rain from Hurricane Irma hammered Jacksonville Beach communities toppling trees, power lines and flooding roads.
Despite Irma’s force, the dunes did its job and kept homes from going underwater. Still, strong waves formed massive craters in the dunes, eroding many of them 10 to 15 feet.
“It was just loud, that freight train sound that everybody talks about,” said Jacksonville Beach resident Vicki Neel.
Neel said the hurricane brought people together. They looked in on each other and made sure everyone was safe before, during and after Irma hit.
The worst of the hurricane hit homes overnight as power flickered off and remained off for many the following day. Some families said it happening overnight in the dark made the situation even more concerning.
In daylight Monday, people noticed a stark contrast to 2016’s Hurricane Matthew when the entire beach community was underwater.
The difference this time around was thanks to the additional dune barriers built up at several beach access points and the added water pumps, which public works crews manned throughout the storm.
Neighborhoods like The Sanctuary subdivision were hit once again with widespread flooding, with water seeping into many homes. Business and beach houses along 1st Street South were torn apart by the wind, uprooting trees, knocking out fence and tearing apart roofs.
The 10 p.m. curfew for the beaches remains in effect Monday night so crews can try to remove downed power lines and other hazards that pose threats overnight.