PASS-A-GRILLE BEACH, Fla. - Pinellas County officials have an early estimate on the cost to re-nourish the numerous beaches that suffered erosion because of Tropical Storm Debby.
Pinellas County coastal manager, Andy Squires, said it's the worst they've seen in more than two years.
"We're thinking damages for the federal beaches, which is about half our beaches, about 15-20 million. And maybe a few more million for the non-federal beaches," said Squires.
Wind and waves from the storm washed away quite a bit of sand at Pass-a-Grille Beach. It carved out sections that now resemble ponds. The erosion was seen throughout Pinellas beaches.
"It is very, very bad. Particularly Ft. Desoto Park, Pass-a-Grille Beach, Sunset Beach on southern Treasure Island. And some areas on Sand Key as well," said Squires.
General Manager of the Hurricane restaurant in Pass-a-Grille, Bruno Falkenstein, knows the importance of the beach for the natural habitat and for business.
"If we don't have a nice beach, mother nature doesn't visit us and we don't have nice tourists come from all over the world to enjoy Florida's nicest beach," said Falkenstein.
He said that certain areas lost several feet of sand, but others gained it. Eventually, Falkenstein adds, some of that sand will make its way back. Help will most likely be needed to speed up the process.
Squires said they're still gathering damage assessments, then hope to get funding to move forward with re-nourishment projects. That could take weeks, even months.