JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The damage from the worst storm to hit the First Coast in many years is being seen in person for the first time today, as residents and business owners alike make their way back to coastal areas.
Hurricane Matthew's destructive forces hit Duval County the hardest along the coastlines, where storm surge from the Atlantic Ocean overtook the dunes and extended inland as far as 3rd Street in Jacksonville Beach.
Trees, street signs and power lines went down all across Duval County as Hurricane Matthew trudged up the coast on Friday.
The first storm-related casualty on the First Coast came at around 3 p.m. on Friday, when a woman was crushed in Crescent City, Fla. Both the woman and a man were inside of a camper sometime before 3 p.m. when a tree fell on top of them. The man only suffered minor injuries.
As of 4 p.m. on Saturday, over 169,000 JEA customers across Jacksonville remained without power. According to JEA representatives, line crews are working around the clock to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible. Due to the high number of outages and the significant damage done to the electrical grid, restoration times are loose estimates.
"The default times indicated on the map are based on normal storm conditions," JEA said in a press release that was sent out at 6 a.m. on Friday. "Customers should plan for power to be out for multiple days."
As power outages rapidly increased in the Jacksonville area, more and more residents turned to the use of gasoline powered generators to substitute the need for electricity. At approximately 8:30 p.m. on Friday, eight people on the Southside of Jacksonville were hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning due to running a generator too close to where they were staying.
The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department later released that a total of 14 people in Duval County had suffered carbon monoxide poisoning over the course of Friday.
The Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier also sustained significant damage from Hurricane Matthew. Large portions of the 1,320-foot pier were lost as waves crashed into the iconic beach facet late Friday afternoon. Wooden planks all along the pier were torn off as the storm surge increased. The pier is significantly shorter now, as close to one-fourth is missing from the end.
The damage seen at the now tattered pier is a testament of just how severe conditions were at the beaches in Duval County. The pier was built with storm damage in mind, as the previous one was destroyed in 1999 by Hurricane Floyd.
Further north, parts of Huguenot Memorial Park were rendered impassable, as the St. Johns River storm surge ran over the roads, crumbling asphalt in the process.