Erosion on the beaches and devastation: Hurricane Idalia plunged Florida into ruins
Herman Neely thought he could hide in his house by the sea and survive the hurricane. Then he saw a storm surge. When Neely opened the front door, he realized that the current was rushing towards him from the Gulf of Mexico. By the time he put on his socks and boots, the water was knee-deep. How Florida residents survived Hurricane Idalia USA Today.
Nili, 78, heard a rumbling in his house just after dawn on August 30. This showed the strength of the hurricane that swept through the Big Bend area in Florida and his hometown of Horseshoe Beach, which, according to the 2010 census, has a population of 169 people.
He said to himself, "It's time to leave."
Neely was one of the residents of Horseshoe Beach whose homes were destroyed by the hurricane. He had a navy green ranch built by his father in 1962.
Affected residents unanimously declared that they had never before swept over their secluded town on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico with such a force of a hurricane - not Hurricane Hermine in 2016, nor the great unnamed storm in 1993.
Before & after…
Hurricane Idalia shows the true power of wind and water in Florida.pic.twitter.com/Fa9VDF4whk
- Scott Duncan (@ScottDuncanWX) September 1, 2023
“It was something out of the ordinary,” said Neely, who managed to escape in his Chevy Silverado truck as wind and storm surge toppled power lines. He returned when the worst was over, and found that his house had been demolished from the foundation, and the interior decoration was destroyed.
Many of his neighbors say that houses that were still standing after Hurricane Hermine were destroyed by Idalia.
“Virtually everything left in place has already been rebuilt,” said John Neal, owner of a landscaping business at Horseshoe Beach. “These are not family homes that have stood here for generations.”
He and his wife Carla Neal had to tell 10 of their friends that they had lost everything.
“It’s hard to call people and tell them that they are no longer at home,” John Neal admitted. - It's horrible".
The couple and their three children, ages 7 to 14, helped clean up the rubble of the building, which until a day ago was a popular marina run by Dennis Buckley, a local landowner.
The hurricane destroyed four homes that Buckley owned and rented out, as well as the marina and Angler's Inn. After the disaster, only the house right behind the pier, in which he lives with his wife, survived.
Adjacent to the pier was a small pub called Jake's Bar. It was named after a Labrador Retriever that Buckley and his wife had to put down.
The vintage soda machines, bicycles, and rotary telephones that adorned the marina lay mangled with bits of metal and tree limbs. The wreckage was scattered hundreds of meters.
Carla Neal found her great-grandfather's fishing rod in the mud, which had once hung over the shop door.
“We have to keep it,” she said as she passed the line to her 12-year-old son, Ethan. “There is nothing left.”
Neely knew that his house was in ruins. But when he returned and examined it, he was amazed at the destruction.
“The hurricane moved the freezer and washing machine,” Neely observed. “He tore down the walls.”
The inside and outside of the house was caked with dirt, which leveled out almost in a straight line.
“It was at least 5 feet (1,5 m) high,” he clarified. “I barely managed to get out.”
Neely makes a living installing roofs and repairing boats. He learned how to operate a boat engine from his father, who was a commercial trout fisherman. Nili, along with his seven siblings, grew up on the same street where he still lives today.
“I know everyone and everyone knows me,” he stressed.
When Neely was asked about his plans for the future, he answered without hesitation: "I'm going to buy myself a trailer, put everything in order, and then start building a house."
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At that moment, two men in a Red Cross van stopped in front of the house.
"Are you hungry? one of them asked. “Do you want to eat?”
— Insider Times (@Insider_Times) August 30
"I'm fine," Neely replied. “Maybe you have a beer or whiskey?”
Indian Rocks Beach City has closed 14 of its 28 beach access points due to severe erosion caused by Hurricane Idalia. Fox 13 News.
The problem existed even before Idalia, Indian Rocks Beach Mayor Cookie Kennedy said: she estimated that the sand level was only about 40% of normal. After Idalia, the city authorities carried out new measurements, the results of which should be received in the near future.
However, the effects are visible to the naked eye. Gaps of up to 5 feet (1,5 m) formed between the ramps and the sand. Idalia destroyed vegetation along the coastline and uprooted palm trees.
"I can't figure out why it's so hard to get insurance in Florida!" 🤔
— StrictlyChristo 🇺🇦🌻 (@StrictlyChristo) August 31
The sand on Indian Rocks Beach has not been updated since 2018. The city, neighboring beach municipalities, and Pinellas County applied for sand restoration funds but were among 11 Florida counties to be denied by the Army Corps of Engineers.
As Kennedy said, she and other leaders even traveled to Washington to solicit federal funding.
Engineering troops are expected to walk along the beaches over the weekend to assess damage.
Mayor Kennedy hopes that personally observing the consequences will help increase the chances of obtaining funding. In the meantime, the city is considering alternative options.
“We are developing a plan to see if there are any funding opportunities. We think they are, - suggested the mayor. “Some of the beaches may have to be shortened.”
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