One month later: Central Florida coast still cleaning up after Sandy

Brevard County estimates tens of millions in damage

By Erik von Ancken - Anchor/Reporter
Headline Goes Here Billy Ocker/CNN iReport

MELBOURNE BEACH, Fla. - More than a month after Hurricane Sandy sliced up the eastern seaboard, the Northeast continues to get most of the attention and rightfully so.

Many have forgotten one of Sandy's first stops was along Central Florida's coast, and it caused tens of millions of dollars in damage here.

Now many property owners say they're alreadyfearing the next storm.

Even though superstorm Sandy stayed hundreds of miles away from Central Florida, from Brevard County to Flagler County, it looks like a category 3 clobbered this coast.

From the air, it's plain to see how close the waves come, to the Sandy Shoes Motel in Melbourne Beach and the house next to it. The properties now sit at the edge of the ocean.

The solid concrete barrier used to line the edge of the property, plants were uprooted, and the sidewalk fell down.  Even the foundation of the entire motel has been uncovered and the dunes were washed into the ocean.

"It's sad, the erosion, you don't know when it's going to stop, what else it's going to take out," said Laura Dimatteo, the property manager at the motel.

Dimatteo said it all happened in a matter of 24 hours.

In all her years out here on the coast, she's seen this before, but not like this.

"It's gotten worse. It's been more frequent, and it seems like where it was going every 4-5 years, now it's every 2 years, it's consistent," said Dimatteo,

With that frequency and intensity comes a financial fallout.

The Army Corp of Engineers says it will cost at least 15 million dollars just to repair the erosion.

Brevard County officials estimate property damage of another 25 million.

"I heard the water came up where the water splashing through the deck, and that's quite a distance," said Pam Frost who has been the office manager at Sebastian Beach Inn for decades. Frost says she's never had to fence off the deck because it's never washed away.

"I personally think people need to watch building on the ocean, you know, because of that reason," said Frost.

She hopes this is a first, but fears, this may not be the last.

There will be no help from the federal government because Florida was never declared a disaster area.

Many business owners we talked with said they have to make repairs with their own money and hope the county will be able to reimburse them, especially when it comes to replenishing sand.

Brevard County officials tell Local 6 next week they will begin bidding out the contract to replenish the beaches.  They recommend businesses and other property owners contact the county for help, but go ahead and make emergency repairs.

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