Sunset Beach takes lashing from Debby
By Eric Horchy | Suncoast NewsTARPON SPRINGS - Flooded roads, downed tree limbs and communication lines and a stressed sewer system are some of the more commonly thought of damages to be dealt with following severe storm systems.
Published: June 26, 2012
Published: June 26, 2012
Tropical Storm Debby certainly wrought that sort of damage harm across the city this week. Sunset Beach, the city's park at the western end of Gulf Road was no exception.
"The biggest issue we've had so far has actually been a loss of sand" on Sunset Beach, Public Works Director Tom Funcheon said Monday afternoon. "We've got quite a bit of erosion on the beach so we're going to have to replenish that sometime in the next couple weeks."
Shoreline erosion at Sunset Beach is typical during storms of similar strength, but the loss of sand associated with Debby was more severe than would have been expected, Funcheon said.
"Usually, the shoreline itself will have some erosion but we actually have sand loss in the middle of the beach, where the volleyball nets are and where our platform area is that we just built. There's quite a bit of that sand missing."
Some of the rain Sunday night was wind driven so it probably pushed a lot of sand off the beach, he said.
The erosion is severe enough to require a speedy replacement of sand and sediment in the affected area, a process known as beach renourishment, Funcheon said.
"It won't be this week, that's for sure," he said. "Not with all this other weather coming in."
The beach erosion damage in Pinellas County was not limited to Sunset Beach. Observation teams began making assessments Monday.
According to a preliminary report from Andy Squires, Pinellas County's coastal manager, the severest erosion found was at Sunshine and Sunset beaches on Treasure Island, Long Key at Upham Beach and Long Key at Pass-A-Grille Beach.
The preliminary observations were conveyed to Squires by Dr. Ping Wang, an associate professor with the University of South Florida's Department of Geology. Wang's team assessed beaches up to Sand Key, in the Clearwater area. Squires was waiting for the assessment from North Pinellas, including the beach at the county-owned Fred Howard Park.
Agreeing with Funcheon, Squires said the full extent of beach erosion throughout the county will not be understood until the storm system has fully passed.
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