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Ian erodes beach dunes, causes rip tides at Jacksonville Beach

Dunes are standing around 7 feet tall in some areas with an abrupt cliff-life structure after severe erosion from Ian.

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — The dunes did their job protecting much of the first coast from rising waters and pounding surf. Now, we are seeing the aftermath. 

Viewer Chris Mariann's photos from Mickler’s Landing in Ponte Vedra Beach show how Ian destroyed two beach walkovers. 

A bit north of there, we are seeing steep dune erosion and dangerous conditions in the water.

People are able to enjoy the beach after Ian, but it looks different. In South Jacksonville Beach, the dunes look like cliff like structures as if they were cut off with a saw. 

At some peaks, the sand walls stand 7 feet high. 

“They will recover pretty quickly, but it will be months not days that’s for sure," says Terry DeLoach. 

DeLoach has been surfing these seas for 50 years. He's seen damage from storms time and time again. The erosion here impressed him.

“It will take a while to build up, but they did their job," DeLoach said. "They did what they’re supposed to do which that was exciting because we had some really high tides.”

We protect the dunes so they can protect us when storms like Ian come around.

The mayor of Jacksonville Beach is also warning people to stay off the dunes. The cliffs are unstable and can be a safety threat. 

In the water, the calm after the storm is disappointing for some.

“I was hoping there was going to be a little bit of swell," said surfer Jeramiah Bowles. "It said 1.5 at 10 seconds but it doesn’t really look like that. I think the sandbars got messed up in the hurricane.”

Bowles is right. It’s what is under the surface that matters though. 

Captain Rob Emahiser with Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue says debris is in the water including steel, dock pilings, and more. Underneath the surface, there is a threat of rip tides due to shifting sand bars. 

Emahiser says red flag conditions continue.

He oversees Ocean Rescue, but they're trying to re-organize the beach as well as monitor the waters. 

Ian, whether by wind or water, moved the lifeguard stands possibly a mile from where they usually are near the pier. 

Emahiser says if you do want to swim in the ocean, make sure you do so in front of where lifeguards are posted. Do not let your kid go in the water alone. Be wary of floating debris from storm damage.

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