Lanes Closed as Ocean Tears Away Sand in Fort Lauderdale

Where the sidewalk and beach once met now is surrounded by water in Fort Lauderdale

By Gilma Avalos
|  Saturday, Nov 24, 2012  |  Updated 6:31 PM EDT
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Now you see it, now you don't: Waves and rough seas kept testing the resilience of a stretch of Fort Lauderdale beach on Saturday. NBC 6's Gilma Avalos spoke to Dennis Schneder, who was visiting South Florida from Ohio.

Now you see it, now you don't: Waves and rough seas kept testing the resilience of a stretch of Fort Lauderdale beach on Saturday. NBC 6's Gilma Avalos spoke to Dennis Schneder, who was visiting South Florida from Ohio.

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Aerial footage Friday showed waves splashing onto the street, bringing sand onto the roadway. In some areas of the beach, the waves reached the lifeguard towers.
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Now you see it, now you don't: Waves and rough seas kept testing the resilience of a stretch of Fort Lauderdale beach on Saturday.

Where the sidewalk and beach once met now is surrounded by water. High tides have left the city of Fort Lauderdale and state Department of Transportation officials with quite an undertaking.

"I’m just heartbroken really, more than fascinated," said Dennis Schneder, who was visiting South Florida from Ohio.

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A stretch of State Road A1A at Northeast 16th Court, near Sunrise Boulevard, remained restricted to one lane in each direction on Saturday, police said. City workers are essentially battling Mother Nature, trying to prevent the crashing waves from washing away the beach and swallowing parts of State Road A1A.

Schneder said he won't be sharing many pictures of his family under a beach umbrella this year. Instead his vacation snapshots capture the beach he has visited for decades disappearing, part of the seawall gone. 

It’s "just terrible to see the devastation,” he said. “Every year this is what we do, we come out here to see the beach."

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It's not the first time Mother Nature has lashed this part of the beach. In late October, Hurricane Sandy showed its power by flooding a very busy A1A and ripping away at the seawall.

Jack Seiler, the city's mayor, says these are the most extreme seasonal high tides he has ever seen. He said the road adjustments may continue through Monday.

On Northeast 16th Court, the waves threatened to take out a street sign, so employees carefully removed the danger, lifting it away.

And Friday night, crews worked late into the night to deal with the growing emergency. The state Department of Transportation installed about 2,500 feet of concrete barriers to prevent further erosion.

The high tide quickly undid some of the work, causing barriers to sink in.

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