Some Wilbur-by-the-Sea homes still in need of repair as hurricane season approaches
VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - It remains a common sight in parts of Wilbur-by-the-Sea: a beautiful ocean view juxtaposed with rows of storm-damaged homes.
One of the homes along South Atlantic Avenues belongs to friends of Tom Caffrey.
"It was quite nice. It was a beautiful home," he said.
Half the home was ripped away during last year's storms. Now, there's sand and debris everywhere. Parts of the ceiling are gone while lighting fixtures swing in the wind.
"I grew up here. We've not had any event like that that's been so bad," Caffrey said.
Outside looking in, the view is just as apocalyptic, and it's not just this house but the others next door as well. Piles of rubble steal the show.
"I think you're going to start to see improvements rapidly over the next few months because everybody's starting to get into that mode that they're used to doing this," Caffrey said.
There wasn't enough time, he says, between Ian and Nicole to fix the seawall, causing it to come apart while the high tide ripped away parts of the home.
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Now, trap bags keep the waves away as the work continues to build a permanent structure with a lot of the red tape cut.
"Because workers are so far out with doing all of this work throughout the area, [scheduling] has been a struggle, so you're looking at several months at least," Caffrey said.
But property owners may have time on their side.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists estimate this year’s hurricane season will be less active than in recent years. Still, the agency predicts five to nine hurricanes, with one to four of those becoming major ones. There's no doubt these property owners hope they can get their seawalls up in time.
"Once that's done, it's very rare that you have a breach of those calibers," Caffrey said.