Vilano Beach man builds makeshift dune, protects neighbors from storm surge

VILANO BEACH, Fla. — Chris McKinney lives on Viejo Street, an area known as ‘Old Porpoise Point,’ which is familiar with storm surges and flooding. Neighbors said Hurricanes Matthew and Irma hit hard.


“Our initiation was Irma. We settled the house, didn’t even move in, and got washed out,” said Pat Miller, a resident along the street.

He was prepared for a similar situation during Hurricane Ian. However, Miller did not deal with any major flooding because of his neighbor’s efforts.

McKinney rented a Bobcat and built a makeshift dune to protect the neighborhood. Cellphone video shared with Action News Jax shows water crashing up over the dune and McKinney then used his jet ski to push the water back into the ocean.

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“We were out here for essentially two days. When we got caught up with the water, we’d be cleaning up the mud and everything else. The next time the tide would come in and we’d fight it again,” McKinney said. “[If we didn’t do anything], we would’ve had three to four feet of water inside the houses.”

Now the neighborhood is calling McKinney a hero for his actions.

“All of us are just so indebted to him for saving the property, saving the street,” Miller said.

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‘New Porpoise Point’ also dealt with flooding after the tide brought water down Porpoise Point Drive. The county recently received a permit for a project to better protect the neighborhood from flooding.

Neighbors along Viejo Street are asking for the same. Action News Jax asked the county about any plans in the area. A representative said they are working to find out what’s being done, and we will update this story when we hear back

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