Hurricane Dora strikes First Coast 52 years ago Friday

Steven Dial reports. 9/9/2016

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Fifty-two years ago hurricane Dora swept across the first coast, claiming lives and creating major damage.

Hurricane Dora was a slow moving storm dumping rain on the first coast for nearly 20 straight hours.

“The seawalls were taking all the hits and they were just crumbling,” says Neptune Beach Councilman Scott Willey. “It caused a lot of washouts and that’s what led to a lot of houses to fall into the ocean. I think 20 houses fell”

Willey was a 17-year-old that just graduated from Fletcher High when the storm hit.

“We were getting everything ready. For the houses we put up tape like that was going to do good. We tied our carports down to our cars, preparing for the storm, not knowing when it would hit.”

Weather radars and other tools were not as good as they are now. Willey says they did the best they could to brace for the storm.

“Biggest thing for us was the storm surge. That was a lot for the beaches.”

The storm surge on the first coast reached up to 14 feet in some areas. With us living on the coast and possibly in the path of hurricanes every year.

Willey says it’s important to take every weather warning serious.

“Preparation is everything. With the technology we have today with the watches and warnings you want to pay attention. You never know what can happen and you don’t take anything for granted with a hurricane or tropical storm.”


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