Photo Gallery | Jacksonville's Tropical Storm Beryl: The Day After

A frayed United States flag best demonstrates Tropical Storm Beryl's high winds and heavy rains, which ruined a fun weekend of the Jacksonville Jazz festival, community gatherings and parades. 

Jacksonville, Florida, was a ghost town on Monday, May 28th, after Beryl's heavy winds and rain drove Memorial Day travelers away from the area and kept others indoors.  The good news is that no one was killed from damaging debris or cleanup afterwards.  Normally, after a storm like this, an amateur with a chainsaw cuts himself while clearing a tree.  A nun at St. Vincent's Medical Center informed us that the Emergency Room was "packed."  When asked about the reason for the high occupancy, she replied that "it appeared to be a little of everything."

While driving downtown, we first encountered city workers repairing the Museum of Contemporary Art building's windows after a University of North Florida banner, flapping in the breeze, slapped five windows immediately breaking them.  Over near Sally Industries (they make Disney-like computerized figures); a JEA crew cleared a telephone pole which buckled, hitting the building.

Next, we drove to Riverside's Memorial Park (how apropos) and witnessed two young boys skim boarding in a giant puddle left behind by the St. Johns River flooding the area.  Waves still pounding the bulkhead would splash over the seawall.

Around the old Maxwell House Mansion (now owned by the Ferguson family), we photographed a dock which had been severely damaged by rising waters.  Additionally, many dock boards gathered at the nearest damning area (see images).

Each passing wave loosens the planks of the dock until they are completely blown away leaving just the side rails and pilings.  One city cleanup crew employee said that nearly every dock "had some noticeable damage."  He added, "We have our work cut out for us." The city workers and cleanup crews were assessing the severe damage to the river bulkhead from Riverside's Memorial Park to St. Vincent's Medical Center.  The shopping area at Park and King Streets was deserted.       
 

While crossing the bridge into Ortega, a giant sheet of rain passed over the river creating a beautiful silhouette of downtown Jacksonville.  One Ortega area home had its roof and RV damaged.  Sitting on the front porch, the family was making the most of it and enjoying the breeze since the neighborhood did not have electricity.

We then drove to the beach where the clouds were beginning to part and the sun began to shine.  The change in the weather brought onlookers, who for the most part stayed safely off the beach on the wooden walkways.

The happiest individuals of the day were the surfers and kite surfers.  Though it was difficult to paddle out through the washing machine like choppy foam, once out into the larger waves, the payoff was well worth the struggle.

The beach had noticeable erosion caused by the heavy winds and high surf. Additionally, the beach was draped in large amounts of seaweed.

We were stopped briefly by the Weather Channel staff (from Atlanta, Georgia) who inquired as to whether we from out of town.  They were disappointed to discover that we were locals and could not be interviewed for their national telecast at 6:00 p.m.

The lifeguards repeatedly warned swimmers and boogey boarders that the beach was closed for swimming due to dangerous rip currents caused by Beryl.  Even still, once the lifeguards were out of sight, these thrill seekers would wander back out into the ocean.

Driving back, we passed briefly through the Selva Marina area.  Debris was piled 6 feet high in front of most of the homes.  Apparently, these residents did not enjoy their Memorial Day off from work, but they certainly got some exercise and outdoor time.

One boy, Frankie, found a silver lining in the high winds.  He used his fishing rod to let out a long line attached to a kite.  

At 10:00 p.m., we joyfully greeted the lights and air conditioning after the electricity was restored at our home.  Thank you, JEA.

According to JEA's website (http://externalapps.jea.com/currentoutages/CurrentOutages.asp) some residents are still without electricity.  But, JEA is working hard to restore power to all of these homes.

To see the entire afternoon of images, visit http://www.milleronsports.com.

THIS INFORMATION WAS COMPILED BY RADIO SPORTS TALK HOST AND JACKSONVILLE GIANTS TELEVISION PLAY BY PLAY ANNOUNCER RICHARD MILLER.  AT 26, RICHARD MILLER IS THE YOUNGEST RADIO SPORTS TALK HOST IN THE NATION.  HIS SHOW, MILLER ON SPORTS, AIRS WEEKDAYS FROM 4:00 TO 6:00 P.M. ON AM 1600 – THE BEACH.  LISTEN TO MILLER ON SPORTS.   “EVERYTHING ELSE IS JUST TALK.”  All photographs and images are the property of Miller On Sports.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 

Photos by:  B.L. Miller

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