People were out and about on Thursday in Summer Haven in southern St. Johns County and in Davis Shores in St. Augustine, some surveying the effects of the storm or just getting back into their homes.

Ocean water spilled into a southern section of the Summer Haven River on Thursday morning, and that portion of the river had been nearly clogged with sand.

The river has been the focus of a years-long restoration effort supported by state funding.

A breach that began more than 10 years ago filled the river with sand, but the restoration efforts got it flowing again.

Jay Ginn, a local resident, has been involved in the restoration efforts along with his wife, Linda. He said the area where the ocean has been coming into the river was already a "weak" area of the river.

“The seriousness of it is, ‘Yes, that sand needs to be removed to proceed with the plans that we have to open that river completely up and open it up and have that free-flowing, beautiful river back again,” he said.

It wasn’t clear as of Thursday whether the new sand intrusion would be addressed.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which has been involved in the river restoration, is surveying damage from Hurricane Dorian along Florida's east coast and will determine what to repair, said FDEP Northeast District spokesman Russell Simpson.

A couple of projects are planned in the area, including dredging of the Matanzas Inlet by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. That project will add sand to the beach in Summer Haven and add buffer for the Summer Haven River.

Also, St. Johns County is working on a different project to strengthen the path where Old A1A used to be along Summer Haven, and the county could use sand from the Summer Haven River as part of that project, said Neal Shinkre, St. Johns County public works director. The county is still surveying how much sand has been displaced in the area.

 

Davis Shores

People were settling back into Davis Shores on Thursday morning, some moving sandbags or removing tape from houses.

A few people expressed relief because the storm had not damaged their homes.

“I think we dodged a bullet,” said Craig Pernaci, who was outside preparing to head to the beach.

He and his family left after he shored up the house as best as he could, he said. The water only came up into his yard.

“I’m going to go catch some good waves now,” he said.

Ginnie Guzman helped move furniture back into her home on Thursday.

Her house received no flooding in Hurricane Dorian, but the home had 3 feet of water in Hurricane Matthew, she said.

“I expected to get as much as we got with Matthew,” she said.

Across the city of St. Augustine, by Thursday afternoon the city had found 31 homes with some kind of damage from the storm, City Manager John Regan said. That included garages.

Three homes had flooding in living spaces, and those homes are in Davis Shores, he said.

More damage could still be reported.

The city is still assessing its infrastructure, but there appears to be minimal damage, he said. Everything is running normally. Also, the city hadn’t received reports of sewage spills as of Thursday, Regan said.

The city planned to coordinate with other agencies on Friday to get relief for residents who had storm damage, Regan said.