No, that’s not snow filling the road to Fort Pickens near Pensacola Beach. It’s just thousands of tons of sugar-white sand that’s been washed up onto beach roads, thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Patricia, which was one of the most powerful storms on record before it made landfall along the Mexican coast. The National Park Service says sand has piled up as high as 5 feet on Fort Pickens Road this week.
According to Gulf Islands National Seashore Superintendent Dan Brown, the National Seashore has closed Fort Pickens Road and J. Earle Bowden Way (Highway 399) along Pensacola Beach because of sand drifts that top several feet, according to a post on Facebook. High surf and winds have caused the roads to become impassable Brown says maintenance crews are working hard to remove the sand and will update the public as soon as the roads are able to be reopened and safely accessible.
UPDATE: J. Earle Bowden Way is now open between Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach. Motorists and bicyclists are urged to use caution as several sections of the road shoulder/bike lane have been undermined and have collapsed.
Fort Pickens Road remains closed to all traffic as crews continue to remove sand. Gulf Islands National Seashore officials anticipate reopening the Fort Pickens Area on Tuesday, November 3.
You can call the Road Hotline for updated information on when the roads will be reopened at 850-934-2656.
While Fort Pickens may be closed until the road reopens, Fort Barrancas and Advanced Redoubt are open, according to park officials.
Fort Barrancas: Guardian of the Gulf- daily at 2pm (meet at the Fort Barrancas Visitor Center) 30 minute program; involves walking on uneven surfaces, sandy walkways, and steps.
Advanced Redoubt: Legacy in Brick & Mortar- daily at 12:30pm (meet at the Advanced Redoubt) 30 minute program; involves walking on uneven surfaces, sandy walkways, and steps.