PLUM ISLAND (CBS) – Neighbors watched as waves crashed over the last line of defense.
“Without that rock wall, we wouldn’t be standing in front of a house right now,” Lela Wright said.
Those living in the Reservation Terrace neighborhood, the northern end of Plum Island, have lost hundreds of feet of sand over the years.
“Once the dune was gone, we knew it was over,” Stan Sacks said.
Stan and Judy Sack’s home on 73rd Street was no match for Monday’s storm.
“This time, it totally undermined the foundation, took that away,” Sacks added.
City officials deemed the home uninhabitable. The inside has also been destroyed by water.
“This room was like a funnel – water everywhere,” Judy Sacks said.
Other neighbors are dealing with similar issues as crews come in and remove all of the sand that the water washed up during the storm.
“We had so much wave energy, and the waves were coming in so fast and so high. If we have a serious storm this winter… it’s not just one house, two houses taken down this year. We are probably talking a dozen, and, yeah, mine is probably the next,” Lela Wright said.
Wright has been down this road before.
“Watching my neighbors’ house take such a severe beating makes it very real that we are facing a very serious challenge,” she said.
And it’s not just the houses along the water. Several rows of homes behind the waterfront houses have flooded-out first floors, destroying heating systems in the middle of the winter.
“I lost my house. The house behind me is condemned and being torn down. The two houses behind me got flooded, heating systems ruined, uninhabitable. The house to my left – next storm, they’ll get wiped out. It’s just going to continue,” Sacks said.
“It’s just back to the drawing board: How can we get ready for the next storm, and how do we do that quickly?” Mayor Sean Reardon said.
Reardon – in his third week of office – says he’s committed to helping these residents.
“I am here to support my residents on Plum Island, and we are going to continue to advocate for them and work with state officials,” he said.
His message to the Sacks family: “My heart goes out to that family, and we are trying to work with them best we can.”
But so much has been washed away, including things from the Sacks’ family and friends.
“It’s really upsetting when you come in and it’s all gone – wiped away – and it’s not expensive material, but it’s very sentimental,” Judy Sacks said.
These neighbors are done with the temporary fixes and are calling for dredging and an immediate evaluation of the jetties.
“It’s been a roller coaster ride of hell, to be honest with you,” Stan Sacks said.