EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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February 9, 2013

Storm pounds Plum Island, undermines homes

Plum Island suffered significant beach erosion, and it's unclear whether at least one house on Annapolis Way in the Newbury section can be saved in the wake of the blizzard of 2013.

While much of the island appears to have weathered the storm without major destruction, homes on Annapolis Way have been hit the hardest.

The already precarious Nee family house at 37 Annapolis Way was further compromised by the pounding waves and onshore wind, losing its slab concrete basement and the last piece of its side deck, according to Newbury Building Inspector Sam Joslin.

"What we've had at the Nee house is waves got up over the sand bag system in place and have taken the basement floor out," Joslin said, explaining that sand barriers in place were not enough to protect the concrete slab, which washed away with the tide surge.

With the collapse of the concrete slabs, water began blowing into the home around high tide at 10 a.m., washing some of the family's personal belongings, including furniture and clothing, out with the sea.

In addition, Joslin said northeast winds caught the side deck of the home for a while, weakening it.

"Once (the deck) got the waves hitting it, it made short work of it and took it down," Joslin said.

Electrical power as well as water and sewer service have been cut to the Nee house, deeming it uninhabitable, Joslin said.

"There's a slight lean to the building. We'll have it evaluated by an engineer and see what if anything we can do to save it," Joslin said.

Two houses over, at 41 Annapolis Way, the front patio was also all but ripped off in the storm.

Both homes were unoccupied.

Joslin said the increased winds coming from the northeast with the storm Saturday morning dramatically whipped up the ocean at Plum Island. There are reports that the beach has lost 20 feet of sand in the storm.

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