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Monday, March 20, 2023

Popular Clay County Flooded Restaurant Reopens After Nicole Leaves Shocking Aftermath

CLAY COUNTY, Florida – A popular Clay County restaurant reopened Saturday after experiencing flooding from Tropical Storm Nicole.

Whitey’s Fish Camp, a seafood restaurant on Fleming Island that sits right next to Swimming Pen Creek, is no stranger to flooding. Managers told News4JAX that while they prepared for Nicole’s arrival, they didn’t prepare as much as they did for Hurricane Ian and realized it wasn’t the best fit.

According to Clay County emergency management officials, the county received about 2 1/2 inches of rain from the storm, causing excessive flooding in several areas including Green Cove Springs, Doctors Lake and Orange Park.

The tiki bar was flooded and the water covered the docks and the parking lot, including the outside terrace.

Along with many other residents, Whitey’s Fish Camp managers aren’t the only ones who underestimate Nicole’s impact.

“We are definitely not as prepared as we were for Ian because it was just a tropical storm. But all of our docks were submerged. We experienced higher flooding with Nicole than Ian, so it almost made it to our upper dining room as well. We are very surprised,” said manager Danielle Lawley.

Despite the surprising consequences, the restaurant suffered no major damage. The floodwaters receded in time for the restaurant to reopen Saturday, which was a relief to patrons and musicians who have come to Whitey’s for years.

“We grew with this establishment and we are happy to have it back in operation. We love it,” said Mike Cook, musician at Whitey’s.

Although Nicole caught the restaurant off guard, Lawley said they will be more cautious the next time a storm hits.

“Even if it’s a storm, we’re going to be prepared,” Lawley said.

Other areas of Clay County were also returning to normal as floodwaters began to recede. Clay County residents were at Spring Park in Green Cove Springs on Saturday, which was not the case on Thursday because the area was completely flooded.

Many residents were surprised by Nicole’s impact as it was a tropical storm. They said they did not expect a storm of that magnitude to wreak so much havoc.

“River flooding is common, but many didn’t think a Nicole would have this power,” said Derrick Surrat. “I thought we were only going to have rain and wind, but she is like that, she is mother nature.”

News4JAX Insiders also submitted images of the flooding that showed water spilling onto sidewalks and inundating boat ramps.

On Friday night, things started to return to normal as the community enjoyed food trucks in the park.


spring green park creek springs


Flooding at Doctors Lake Boat Ramp

Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.

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