Seaplane base in Tavares damaged by Hurricane Irma prepares for Elsa
TAVARES, Fla. - The seaplane base in Tavares is back up and running after over three years and millions of dollars in repairs, but with Elsa approaching, they are taking precautions.
Hurricane Irma ravaged the marina back in September of 2017. Meteorologists say the storm dropped at least one tornado onto the chain of lakes.
"It looked like a disaster zone," said Deborah Flaherty, who lives in Tavares, remembers the aftermath.
Flaherty says she and her husband removed their sailboat right before Irma hit.
The dock, planes and more than 20 boats were torn from the water and thrown ashore.
"Everything was kind of piled on top of each other," Flaherty said.
The City of Tavares has unveiled an 80-slip marina and new fueling docks, which were funded by an insurance settlement after the hurricane destroyed the base.
With Elsa looming over, now business owners are taking precautions.
The marina is usually filled with boats and planes but as Hurricane Elsa approaches, the marina was left empty.
"We are kind of anchoring them down, putting double straps on them," said Peter Closi, the president of the Jones Brothers Seaplanes. All of the planes have been taken off the water and tied down.
The planes that are even lighter were hauled away and stored in a nearby hanger.
"I think we are just all hoping it holds up," Closi said.
The City of Tavares also replaced the old wooden docks with a more flexible style to keep the docks intact as a precaution in case Elsa sends any surprises toward Central Florida.
While no one believes the storm will dramatically impact the new sea base, it was eerily left empty as everyone prepares for Elsa.