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Posted: September 07, 2017

Community still rebuilding after Hurricane Matthew braces for Irma

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
VIDEO: Hurricane Irma From Space

By Amber Krycka,


The threat of Hurricane Irma is weighing heavily on the minds of people living in St. Johns County, Florida, 11 months after Hurricane Matthew slammed the shore of Vilano Beach.

“We lost everything from basically 4 feet down in the house,” Martha Nourse said.

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Nourse, her husband and their two dogs have been living in a trailer parked in front of their home since Hurricane Matthew left the house uninhabitable.

“We had 2 1/2 of water in the house,” she said. “We not only had flood damage, but we had wind damage on the roof.”

Time-lapse video from after Hurricane Matthew hit the area shows water about 9 or 10 feet deep making its way into dozens of Vilano Beach homes.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
A man walks through a flooded street as Hurricane Matthew passes through the area on October 7, 2016 in St Augustine, Florida. Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina all declared a state of emergency in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Tammy Tombroff, who lives across the street from Nourse, said she just moved back into her home.

“Piece by piece, I’m putting this back together,” she said. “I’ve only just gotten furniture like, last week.”

Down the road, Jeff Troxell is reminded daily of Hurricane Matthew’s damage. His family has left marks on the home’s door that show how high the water got during the storm.

“It was 27 1/4 inches,” he said, pointing to the door. “That’s how much water we had in the house. I’m not lazy. That’s just the reminder.”

Other neighbors said they can’t help but worry. 

“It is pretty scary,” Tombroff said. “Just now getting it back together, and what would that be like -- I can’t imagine.”

Nourse said she already has three hotel rooms booked.

“Anxiety levels are definitely high,” Nourse said.

Other neighbors said that they are buying generators and other supplies.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.




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