Jun 28, 2012

Pass-a-Grill: The Aftermath

Tropical Storm Debbie has finally moved on, after sitting off the coast of Florida for three days. The storm brought high winds and lots of heavy rain, but not much damage.

Except in Pass-A-Grille.

Pass-A-Grill, a charming beach town that sits on a thin peninsula between the intercoastal  waterway and the Gulf of Mexico, was struck by a small tornado. The damage was not as bad as it could have been, and fortunately there were no fatalities, but there was damage all the same, most notably the massive erosion of the beach for which Pass-a-Grill is famous.

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The most disheartening impact of Tropical Storm Debby has been the erosion of the beaches for which Florida is known for. Indian Rocks Beach, Madeira Beach and Sand Key, in addition to Pass-a-Grill, have all had most of their beaches erased by the storm. 

Where once there was enough beach for people to park their beach chairs in front of the concrete pier, the Gulf of Mexico has taken it back. This is low tide; at high tide all the beach in this picture will be covered with water.

Sand covers the walkways to the beach, built to protect the fragile sea oats that are part of the beach ecosystem. The storm ripped away miles of sea oat roots, bringing the high tide line much closer than where it once was. The only way to recover the beaches will be through beach replenishment, a time consuming and expensive process.

The owner of this house told me that the storm toppled his brick chimney and ripped away the back porch, but left the political candidate sign in the front yard (below).

That politician must have some serious pull.

Below left: power junction boxes ripped away from the exterior of a house
Below right: a section of roof lying in the street

Below: Progress Energy trucks getting getting ready to repair downed power lines and clear obstructions and hazards to electrical wires. Pass-a-Grill was abuzz with the activity of people cleaning up and putting things back together

The most serious damage was to this this house, half of which collapsed into shambles. Miraculously, no one was injured, however the woman who lives here had two cats, one of which remains missing. It's likely that the structure will have to be condemned.

A tree fell on this SUV during the storm; the glass truck was just pulling up as I was walking  by. 

These two ladies were in hiding during the storm, which they described as terrifying in its intensity. This was the first day they had ventured outside to assess the damage. You can see the impact point of the tree on the passenger side of the windshield

Progress Energy crews working beside an overturned semi trailer

This large marina building, where boats are stored when not in use, sustained heavy damage in the storm, and will have to be substantially rebuilt 

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