Bathtub Reef Beach under local state of emergency, closes from erosion

HUTCHINSON ISLAND, Fla. -- Hutchison Island resident Kay West loves living at Mother Nature's front door.

"How can you not be happy?" she asked, gesturing at her home's view of the Atlantic Ocean.
 
But that view comes with a price.
 
"You're going to sooner lose your house here than in Sewall's Point, or in another place that's inland," she acknowledged.
 
West said she's seen severe damage on her street from Hurricane Frances and Hurricane Jeanne.
 
"Both of the houses on either side of us went in the storm. Just blew away," she recalled. "It is dangerous."
 
Bathtub Beach, just half a mile from her home, is closing after severe erosion from Tropical Storm Isaac, and more expected from Tropical Storm Sandy. Martin County officials declared a local state of emergency for the beach, and engineering crews will reinforce the dunes with 1,600 more tons of sand brought in from local mines, and the beach will re-open soon.
 
West said living so close to the erosion, she is still unconcerned, because her house is naturally protected by limestone rock formations.
 
But she admits when it comes to storms, it's best to play it safe. She and her husband have evacuated before, and they would do it again in a heartbeat.
 
"We don't really worry about it that much. We know what to do," said West. "We don't take chances. And if we needed to leave, we would leave."
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