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As Elsa looms, so do concerns over Ponte Vedra Beach dunes

As Elsa looms, so do concerns over Ponte Vedra Beach dunes
As Elsa looms, so do concerns over Ponte Vedra Beach dunes

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – As Elsa heads closer to Florida, people living along Ponte Vedra Beach hope the storm does not wipe out their dunes.

The season’s first hurricane reached sustained winds of 85 mph Friday. The storm’s path remains uncertain, but the Jacksonville area is still preparing for any impacts that could be felt.

RELATED: Despite Elsa’s uncertain path, Jacksonville not taking any chances | Clay County works to clear storm drains as officials monitor Elsa

Elsa is the last thing neighbors said they need for their dunes in Ponte Vedra Beach.

“We’ve lost over 120 feet since the 1980s and that’s just not coming back,” said Beth Angelo.

Angelo and Elaine Ashourian, her neighbor, said smaller storms do enough damage.

“It’s easy to forget what we went through with Irma and Matthew because it was four years ago, but we saw the impacts we were all just praying that our homes and our county would be safe through that,” said Ashourian.

The county recently approved a 34-million-dollar FEMA project to protect 20 miles of homes and businesses along the beach.

RELATED: Beach closures planned during project to enhance Ponte Vedra dunes

“There’s a lot of challenges to get this sand on the beach and hopefully we have good weather and get the protection needed on the beach as soon as possible,” said Joseph Giammanco with St. Johns County Emergency Management. “We are working as fast as possible to get this on there and mother nature is mother nature and hopefully, we can get there before she does.”

Neighbors also worry about turtle nests being wiped out in a storm. The water already creeps close to the nests.

The dunes project is expected to start late summer.

St. Johns County Emergency Management said it’s still early too early to tell what Elsa might do, but they are in contact with local agencies as they form a plan for the storm.

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Reports weeknights for The Ten O'Clock News and News4Jax at 11.