Lifeguards remember Hurricane Dora from 1964

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- Sunday, June 1, 2014 marks the start of Hurricane season and the anniversary of Hurricane Dora. Dora rocked the First Coast 50 years ago and left a path of destruction.

George Paugh, David Jones and David Stearns were lifeguard recruits who helped during and after Dora hit the Jacksonville Beach area.

Paugh was not in Jacksonville when the storm hit, but he rushed home, and saw the devastation, first hand. In 1964, he was just 16-years-old and a new recruit with the American Red Cross Life Saving Corp.

Paugh says, "It was pretty bad [and there was] a lot of devastation and a lot of people lost a lot."

The storm had sustained winds of about 125 miles per hour. The water was so strong, that Paugh says, sea walls were wiped out.

"The water was all the way up to third street," said Paugh. "The ocean can be very docile and calm as can be or it can be violent...very, very violent."

George says the force of the water was so strong that it took out 40 foot sand dunes. David Jones and David Stearns were together the night Dora came through. Like George, they were lifeguard recruits when the storm hit. As teenagers, they were adventurous and while the storm rolled through, they rushed to the lifeguard house.

"It wasn't the safest place to be," said Jones.

He says he was standing in the dark while the force of the water continued to pound the station.

"[The water] had bust in the boat room door," said Jones. "It was just smashed in and we were wading around in thigh-deep water."

"The bulkhead went 15 feet to the sand, before the storm it was like five or six feet," said Stearns. "Dora took out ten plus feet of sand when it hit."

All three lifeguards are still training and teaching young lifeguards to stay on top of training and Hurricane Preparedness plans.

"You can be so prepared but, you can't control [a Hurricane because] it's going to do whatever it wants to," said Paugh, "You can't control it."


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