There’s a certain look to North Florida beaches. Wide and white, backed by sand dunes with a gradual slope to the ocean. Hurricane Matthew changed the topography of the beach, altering even the view from the road.
“It’s pretty powerful, I’ve seen it maybe a dozen times in 30 years,” Bobby Weed, Ponte Vedra resident and golf course designer said while walking on Ponte Vedra Boulevard on Saturday.
“I’ve seen it at Amelia Island in the 70’s and 80’s and here a couple of times,” Weed recalled. “We’ve lost the dunes but the beach is resilient, it’ll come back. I think we’re all very fortunate”
Residents are used to idyllic weather, hot summer days, cool spring and fall breezes and occasional violent storms. But this was completely different.
“The power of the wind and the water is amazing,” Weed’s daughter Haley, said. “We’ve lost our dunes but they’ll grow back. Everything has changed so we’ll have to adapt. It’ll work out.”
“A little bit of devastation,” is how Nocatee resident Kevin Day described it walking back from looking at the ocean. “It wasn’t too bad. I expected it to be worse than I saw. There are palm leaves, trees, a little bit of board damage. And all the dunes have been washed away.”
“At first we thought it was going to be a Cat 4 and my wife wanted to get out of town,” Day explained. “We decided to stay at the last minute and I guess we got lucky.” As a more than 30-year resident of North Florida, and a prominent international golf industry businessman, Bobby Weed had a tinge of pride watching his home town recover.
“I’ve been over in Orange Park picking up my youngest daughter this morning and I’ve been impressed. Everybody’s pitching in and cleaning up. It’s a good community effort.”