Post Dorian updates from Fernandina Beach

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
September 8, 2019

City Manager Dale Martin

On Friday, Fernandina Beach City Manager Dale Martin provided brief, post-Dorian updates to City Commissioners and the media on items of interest to the general public.

Martin reported that preliminary damage assessments revealed minimal damage to City facilities and infrastructure. In general, one tree (14th Street) was downed, no dunes were breached, minor flooding at high tide covered a small section of N. Front Street, and, based upon Florida Public Utilities reports, power outages were very limited (and short). Additional issues may surface over the next few days, but no significant long-term damage occurred.

No damage to Airport facilities was reported due to Hurricane Dorian.

One tree was reported downed at the City Golf Course due to the storm.

Unlike Hurricane Matthew, which devastated the Fernandina Harbor Marina three years ago, Dorian did not affect the south basin, although it did damage the north basin.  According to Martin, from firsthand observations, the newly installed southern attenuator performed admirably during the storm: the structure remained steady and solid in the face of heavy winds and seas. The installation of the remaining sections continues (pace is somewhat controlled by the fabrication of the docks sections  (only 1-1.5 can be produced each week).

With respect to the south basin, Martin reported,  “Docks 4, 5, and 6 have been installed and, with the protection of the attenuator, fared well during the storm. A few minor issues were observed that should be somewhat easy to address, such as the relationship of the gangways to the docks during extremely high water. Although the water rose to the level of the area boardwalks, the water never topped the boardwalk nor did the water rise outside of the boat ramp area.

He added that the northern attenuator did not fare as well.  “The already damaged northern attenuator took another beating due to the direction of the waves and wind. The gangway to the attenuator was ripped loose from its land-side mounting and will need to be repaired and reinstalled.  Staff will review options for that effort. The boardwalk on the north side of Brett’s Waterway Café was again damaged and will need to be repaired. Minor damage also occurred to water and wastewater lines that serve the northern docks (since repaired).”

As a consequence of the mandatory evacuation, the September 3 Public Hearing on the FY 2019/20 Budget and the Regular City Commission Meeting were canceled.  The City is reviewing the possibility of rescheduling these meetings to September 24.  If appropriate public notice can be provided in accordance with State statutes, the City can complete its budget process prior to the start of the next fiscal year. A final decision will be presented early next week.