South Walton Reeling After Dennis

By: Mike Tolbert
By: Mike Tolbert

Beaches were already heavily eroded by Hurricane Ivan and Tropical Storm Arlene. Now they're much worse. John Andrew and his wife spent Tuesday surveying the damage to South Walton, beaches ravaged by Ivan, Arlene, and now Dennis.

John Andrew, a South Walton resident, says, "Each successive storm is eating away more and more of it and homes that thought they were safe back a couple hundred feet are getting very close to losing that stability.”

Some already have. Dennis ripped the back wall off of an inlet beach home, the fan still spinning, a house that belonged to one family for 40 years now gone.

Look next door and it’s even worse. That's the bathroom on its side. Dennis washed away around 15 feet of elevation here, a scene repeated throughout Walton County's 26 mile coastline.

"These makeshift stairs are really the only way to get on to the beaches.

That's because all of the county's beach accesses have been destroyed, most of them new since Hurricane Ivan. County officials are still surveying the damage. One good sign is people still determined to enjoy themselves on the beach.

Blair Budd, a tourist, says, "We came back and I'm sure everyone will basically."

John says no matter how many storms come through this area, he's not going anywhere.

"I can't ever imagine moving off of 30-A, but it’s just very frustrating to see mother nature do this to such a beautiful beach.”

Even though it's good to see people enjoying themselves, the coastal waters in Walton County remain closed until the Sheriff's Office deems them safe to reopen.


8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647 FCC Form 398
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 1687727 - wjhg.com/a?a=1687727