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Burnside Island family raising their home after flooding from Hurricane Irma

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 12:46 PM EDT
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s a reality some families in our area are facing — raise your home or risk losing it to a flood. The Cason family is working to get that done before the next tropical system forms.

The Cason family moved to picturesque Burnside Island in the spring of 2017 and just six months later, Hurricane Irma moved in.

“We were in this home for six months and we had a really good six months and about a week before the hurricane we bought a camper. And so that has been our saving grace through all of this,” said Cathy Cason.

Irma’s large wind field created a series of abnormally high tides along the southeast coast. Hurricane Irma’s peak storm tide pushed water up the Vernon and Moon Rivers, along Shipyard Creek and over the Cason’s property.

“The things that we lost in the hurricane can be replaced and at this point, living without it for four years, it’ll be interesting to see if I even replace a lot of the things that we lost,” said Cason.

Nearly four years later, after outreach, grants, insurance, planning and legal approvals, construction is well underway on something they did keep — their home. The home was not up to current code, which requires that the home be at least ten feet above sea level. The original home was more than two feet shy, so changes had to be made.

“The Engineers had to weigh out the option if it made more sense and if it was structurally sound to raise it or take the roof off and add a second story. So, because the home is brick and concrete, then it made more sense to add a second story,” said Cason.

The Casons are thankful for what they do have — each other and their piece of paradise. The Cason family and others across our area are still recovering from recent disasters.

“Have an evacuation plan that makes sense for you and your family and, I mean, just be smart about it and if you find yourself in a situation where you’ve lost a lot of your belongings, just try to keep moving forward. It will be alright,” said Cason.

Do you know your home’s elevation? If it did flood, would it need to be raised? Get these answers before the next threat looms. Stay informed. Stay protected.

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