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Summer Haven prepares for hurricane season as county funds vulnerability study

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — As hurricane season kicks off, one hard-hit area in St. Johns County is bracing for what the tropics could bring.

Now, the county is working on determining the future of those houses at risk.

It’s been nearly seven months since a nor’easter tore through Summer Haven, ripping away a portion of dune and causing millions of dollars worth of damage.

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“It changed the whole landscape, it’s amazing how much it changes,” said Andy Keller, who has lived here for the past year.

Now, he says he’s ready for hurricane season.

“I think I’m far enough away that I don’t have to worry,” he explained. “Selfishly, I like the excitement of it, but of course, it makes you nervous.”

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Keller says he’s not sure what to make of his neighbors most at risk.

“It doesn’t take much to wash over this entire thing. The houses are literally falling into the sea there,” he explained.

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St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners have voted to use $400,000 from general fund reserves to carry out a vulnerability study of the area. The study will give commissioners insight on how to move forward, and whether there is a cost-effective way to salvage the homes, which have previously been caught in the path of storms.

“I don’t like the idea of anybody being kicked out of their house,” Keller said. “Especially these have been here for so long, but I also don’t like the idea of everybody paying, fighting an uphill battle and throwing money at something that’s never going to be solved in the long run.”

The county is currently working on finding a contractor to carry out the study.