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Storm surge from Hermine takes toll on Collier County coast

Posted at 6:55 PM, Sep 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-01 18:55:01-04

The effects of Hurricane Hermine are being felt on the coast of Collier County, due to storm surge. Naples Harbormaster Roger Jacobsen said that 154 sea turtle nests have been inundated with seawater, but it is uncertain how many of those nests are so badly damaged that hatchlings may not survive. He said only seven nests are confirmed to be destroyed by the heavy surf.

"The beach is not there - the water is right up to the dunes," Jacobsen said. "So we could actually lose some more nests out of this storm."

"There is a great deal of beach completely gone," said Tammy Alexander, a Naples resident who was checking out the beach conditions Thursday. "A great deal of sea oats are absolutely gone. And it's been happening all summer, so there's not a whole lot (of beach) left to go."

Mark Block, another long-time Naples resident, said he remembers the storm surge caused by Hurricanes Charley, Wilma and Katrina. He said the surge from Hurricane Hermine is about the worst he's seen since then, and has noticed the damage done to turtle nests.

"The turtle nests have been flooded continuously, so the sand is just calm and dead," Block said. "It just looks lifeless."

Some people took advantage of the conditions in the Gulf of Mexico by surfing the waves on Naples beaches.

Meanwhile, over in Naples Bay, the aging city dock is being stressed by the storm surge. Jacobsen closed the fuel dock when water started washing over it, and high tide brought standing water onto the road leading up to the dock.

"We've had a little damage here and there, and we're trying to stay on top of it," Jacobsen said.

Construction of a new city dock is expected to begin within the next couple of years. It has not been rebuilt since 1983.