Environment
3:43 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Tropical Storm Debby Causes Massive Beach Erosion

Tropical Storm Debby caused only about 3 feet of storm surge but that was propelled by high winds for more than 24 hours. That was enough for beach erosion.

And that could be bad for the tourism industry. According to Tampa Bay Times, lost beaches are lost business.

The beaches were part of Tampa's pitch to woo the Republican National Convention to town in August, as well as the longtime basis for the region's tourism industry.

"That's one of the main reasons why people come down here, to use the beach," said Eddie Rodrigo, general manager of the Sabal Palms and Coconut Inns in Pass-a-Grille. "If they can't use the beach because it's so bad, that's going to hurt us. Word will get out eventually."

Pinellas Emergency Management spokesman Len Cieciezski said they might need a few things to patch things up again.

"We may need extra permitting, we may have to find areas where extra sand is available out in the water where we normally get the sand to put on the beach," he said, "we're going to have to get extra funding because now there's more areas that need to be nourished."

Cieciezski says beaches like Upham Beach* normally suffer erosion, but Debbie caused erosion on beaches where it usually isn't a problem like Indian Shores.

Pinellas Emergency Management and USF's Geology department are doing a study to assess exactly how much damage Debby did to the beaches.

Edit: 2012-06-28 11:55 AM- South Pasadena was the previous name in the story. Upham Beach is the beach Cieciezski referred to as being a usual spot for erosion.