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Cristobal takes a bite

Tim Croft
The Star

Tropical Storm Cristobal made landfall Sunday hundreds of miles to the west of Gulf County.

Cristobal’s impacts, however, extended to the county and beyond.

Heavy rains, which resulted in the county rescinding its ban on outdoor burning south of the Intracoastal, and winds were carried far to the east by the storm, which made landfall near Louisiana and was still dumping downpours as far as Iowa on Tuesday.

“It was kind of a lopsided storm,” said Ben Guthrie with Gulf County Emergency Management, with most of its rain and wind bands concentrated to the east.

“It carried a lot of rain even to the east of us; I-10 was flooded at one point.”

As the storm made landfall Sunday, the beaches were an odd mix.

Waves crashed over the Stump Hole carrying sand across the road, but along the beaches, visitors were surfing, swimming and playing in the surf despite double red flags.

“The beaches were really crowded,” Guthrie said.

There were no reports of injuries.

Not to assert the same about the beaches.

Assistant County Administrator Warren Yeager said the county’s consulting engineer, Michael Dombrowski, would arrive this week to assess the extent of erosion.

Dombrowski will also continue to lay the ground work for a project to create “vegetative islands” along the south end of the Cape beach to slow erosion.

Guthrie said waves were still strong early in the week so a full assessment of the peninsula and Cape was not possible, but the southern end of the peninsula suffered sand loss.

“We were afraid of that as we watched the storm,” Guthrie said. “(The Stump Hole at the southern end of the peninsula) is a really bad spot.

“You have two different tides coming together at that one spot. It is going to erode.”

Yeager said even before Cristobal hit, the southern end of the peninsula, among the fastest eroding shorelines in the state, was already losing sand.

“Even before (Cristobal) it was working on it,” Yeager said.

The area is within the project boundaries of a beach restoration project completed just last fall.

Beyond the beaches, Guthrie said the county experienced no real impacts other than “it was rainy and it was breezy.”