Beach Erosion in South Walton is expected to get worse

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WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — South Walton County is still recovering from major beach erosion caused by Hurricane Sally’s strong wind gusts. Unfortunately, before they get the chance to, Hurricane Zeta is expected to bring more.

Beach officials said with Hurricane Zeta’s strong gusts, they are concerned.

“All along with the county, we would see significant erosion,” said David Vaughn, the South Walton Fire Districts Beach Safety Director.

With the expected storm surge from Hurricane Zeta, Vaughn said even more erosion is expected, and there is already significant dune loss.

“It’s going to be bad. We are going to see a lot of the same things in an exacerbation of the things that have happened. It will be kind of like a one, two punch,” said Vaughn.

The beach’s flat sandy portions are down below various elevations, allowing storm surges to come up over the beach and tear apart the bluff on the dunes. And it will continue to do so.

“Our beaches are what is considered critically eroded,” said Brian Kellenberger, the Walton County Director of Beach Operations for the TDC.

Kellenberger said one solution to all this erosion could be a beach renourishment project.

“It is not an easy project by any means but is it necessary within Walton County? I think we are getting there,” said Kellenberger.

The more the dune loss, the more properties are in danger, Kellenberger said. 

Double red flags are currently flying. Vaughn said if you are going near a beach, be extra cautious as Hurricane Zeta’s winds are quite strong.

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