What's in store for Vilano Beach as latest storm swirls in Atlantic?

This part of coast has been hit by hurricanes, big storms in recent years

By Allyson Henning - Reporter

VILANO BEACH, Fla. - A tropical wave swirling and making its way toward the southeast is still well out into the Atlantic Ocean -- and storm systems such as this one are always a concern for people who live along Vilano Beach in St. Johns County.

That part of the coast has been hit by hurricanes and big storms in recent years, causing a lot of erosion.

Many people who live along the coastline have even seen erosion ruin their view of the ocean.

They’re watching the latest storm system as the county makes plans to fix problems with the beaches.

“I have lived here since ‘74,” Vilano Beach resident Lea Lent said. “I am one of the oldest, I suppose, out here.”

As a few hurricanes have skimmed the coastline -- most recently, Matthew and Irma -- Lent has seen it all. 

“We were hit real hard because it washed up underneath the house,” Lent said. “It washed the pilings away both times. …  I am still recovering sort of from that.”

That’s why she and others in Vilano Beach are watching the water, again wondering what Mother Nature will bring.

“Are we worried a little bit? Yeah, a little bit,” Clay Hansen said. “But that’s just the price of living on the beach. It’s like, we hope that everything stays, and we will fortify things as we can, but Mother Nature is what Mother Nature is.”

St. Johns County is working to deal with this ongoing threat long-term.

In April, officials detailed a 50-year-long plan to renourish the beach. It’s yet to be seen whether coastal storms will threaten that plan.

The multimillion-dollar plan the county has undertaken is being done in partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers and should really start getting underway in May of next year.

As for where officials will get the sand to renourish the beach, it’s supposed to be taken from the intracoastal waterway right underneath the big cross near historic St. Augustine.‚Äč

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