Matthew devastates Florida sands key to protection, tourism

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By: Associated Press
October 10, 2016

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- When Christa Savva returned to the Sandy Shoes Beach Resort a day after Hurricane Matthew brushed by Melbourne Beach, Florida, she looked at the beach in front of the pink-flamingo-colored hotel and noticed half the sand dunes had disappeared.

Savva, a property manager for the Space-Age-era hotel, guesses three-quarters of the missing dunes washed into the ocean and the remaining quarter scattered onto the resort's beachfront property, which was undamaged by the hurricane.

The sand on Florida's beaches is the equivalent of tourism gold, and its disappearance over time threatens the state's No. 1 industry.

While Hurricane Matthew didn't ravage Florida's coast as a series of storms did a dozen years ago, it collapsed dunes, washing away sand that protected buildings and roads during storms, and will likely require the spending of millions of dollars on beach restoration projects.

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