GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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March 9, 2013

Plum Island homes lost to the storm

PLUM ISLAND – The latest storm to strike Plum Island proved to be a knockout blow for two Annapolis Way homes, which will be torn down later this morning after suffering catastrophic damage during Friday’s ferocious morning high tide.

The houses at 37 and 41 Annapolis Way were each condemned after high seas washed away the dune from underneath them, compromising their foundations and rendering them a danger to the public. Three other houses suffered significant structural damage in the storm and at least a dozen were left teetering perilously close to the edge.

The house at 41 Annapolis Way suffered the worst fate, toppling over the edge shortly after yesterday’s 8:30 a.m. high tide hit. It sat at a 45-degree angle, half on the dune and half on the beach, with wreckage and personal belongings spilling out into the waves that lashed at it.

While Tom Nee’s residence at 37 Annapolis Way was still standing, virtually all the engineering that had been to shore up the house after it was damaged by the Blizzard of 2013 was gone.

“We couldn’t anticipate a storm like this coming and doing the damage that it did,” said Sam Joslin, Newbury’s Building Inspector. “So that work was for naught and the house is in worse shape than it was prior to repairs.”

Friday’s storm was the latest in a string of devastating storms to hit Plum Island over the past few months, including Superstorm Sandy, a surprisingly strong December storm, and then the blizzard.

Bob Connors, who lives between the two houses at 39 Annapolis Way, said he couldn’t recall Plum Island ever experiencing this many storms in such quick succession, and it’s taking its toll.

“I don’t think the storm is as bad [as the Blizzard], but we have a fully compromised coastal dune system now so we have absolutely no storm protection,” Connors said. “So these homes are at risk at every tide.”

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