Hurricane Dennis 10 Year Anniversary

Published: Jul. 10, 2015 at 6:59 PM EDT
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July 10, 2015

By Julie Montanaro

Ten years ago today, Hurricane Dennis stormed ashore with 125 mile an hour winds and a wall of water.

It rose so fast that much of the town of St. Marks found itself underwater.

Joy Brown will never forget that day. July 10, 2005. When she was forced to evacuate Bo Lynn's grocery store in a boat.

"It came in so rapidly," Brown said as she described the water rising around her feet. "It's still emotional when we think about it. Like many other people, we had a roof over our head when we came back - we were grateful for that, but It was just devastating to see everything just floating around in the water."

The tiny coastal town of St. Marks was just one that woke up to rapidly rising water. Storm surge would wipe out Angelo's restaurant, wash out homes and roads in Alligator Point and here at Shell Island Fish Camp the high water mark is still marked right on the front door.

"We didn't think it was going to get like that. We thought...two feet maybe," owner Sherie Bevis said. "We stacked stuff on top of the tables and on top of the shelves... that wasn't enough."

"We had boats floating out, banging against the house. It was scary," Bevis said. "When the water left, they (the boats) just set down wherever they got caught and you had to take the forklift and go find them. Some of them were in the woods, some of them back down the highway."

Bevis says the water flooded their motel and reached the top of the pilings on their home before it receded.

"I'm glad we haven't done it again," Bevis said. "They say it was a 100-year flood. I hope I'm not here in a hundred years or 90 years when another one comes for sure."