Erosion a constant battle along Lowcountry coast
FOLLY BEACH,S.C. (WCIV) - Hurricane Sandy slammed into theNortheastern United States last October,bringing with it a large storm surge.
Twenty-four states saw someimpact from the storm, but New York and New Jersey suffered themost damage - damage that totaled $65 billion. And 286 people in sevencountries died as the storm tracked through the Caribbean towards its finallandfall in the U.S.
The Lowcountry's last majorhurricane was more than 20 years ago, but Sandywas a stark reminder that everything can change in a matter of hours.
Storms like Sandy can have incredible impacts on shore -not just to property, but to the structure of the actual coastline. Erosion isa topic that people on Folly Beach know all too well.
Hurricane Irene took a largechunk of the coastline there in 2011. Since then, officials with the countyparks system have been working to reopen Folly Beach County Park,one of the areas hardest hit by the storm.
"We experienced a lot oferosion out at Folly Beach CountyPark, so much in fact that the highsurf actually breached the dunes out at FollyBeach CountyPark," said Sarah Reynolds, thepublicity coordinator for the Charleston County Parkand Recreation Commission. "Folly Beach CountyPark is bordered on one side by theAtlantic Ocean and on the other by the Folly River,and essentially the waves from the ocean washed completely over the island outthere. So it basically washed pretty much all the sand away at the park."
The park has been renourished -it reopened this month - and improved with a groin designed to keep the sandfrom eroding again. Reynolds says the public is happy to have the park openagain.
"The reason it was so importantto us to get Folly Beach County Park back open to the public was not only forbeach access for people to come out there, but to open another property thatallows for public life-guarded space," she said.
But the look of the beach willcontinue to change.
"They pumped 415,000 cubicyards of sand and almost, in a sense, overloaded the park, expecting some ofthe sand to wash away eventually, so there's plenty of room if we do haveanother storm event," Reynolds said. "And we do have some high surf out there,so some of the sand can wash away and we'll still be good."
Reynolds also says therevitalized beach in perfect for turtle nesting.