Mathew totally over washed the south third of the island, moving 2 to 4 feet of sand to the road making it impassable. It also caused 3 to 4 feet of water over the roads and under any houses close to the creek, flooding anything under those houses. Town Hall was flooded and is unusable. We have set up a temporary Town office but have had to depend on the National Guard for internet service, and our town hall telephones are still down. We had the National Guard and our own contractors begin clearing Springs Street, and the island was shut down until it could be made safe from downed power pole, wires on the roads etc. When Chief Fanning and the Chief of Midway fire and rescue said it was safe, the Town Council opened the island to owners and agents only, to prevent looting and sight seers clogging the streets. Power was restored to the Island (underground sections first) Tuesday night and Wednesday. Several days later the check points were removed from the causeway and relocated on the south end. Today the checkpoints were removed from the south end, but King Tides flooded much of Myrtle Avenue this morning.
The Town contracted with Goodson Construction, which scraped and rebuilt our dunes after Joaquin, and they began scraping work to build dunes to protect houses and infrastructure on the south end under an emergency permit issued by the state. The Corps of Engineers informed us Thursday that we needed to go through the same general permit application we did after Joaquin, which took many weeks. We stopped the dune building and sent the corps a picture showing the ocean coming under a house near Pritchard Street to Springs Street at 6:40PM Thursday evening after the storm. They immediately replied and came to the island Friday morning to assess the situation, and at 4:15PM they issued an emergency permit for the south third of the island for scraping and berm construction up to Hazard Street. Our contractor has been working night and day, except for last night as their crews were so tired they had to stop and give everybody some rest. They are back at it today with 10 or 12 pieces of heavy equipment.
If your house is on Springs Street the town has cleared “ramps” for you to get off the road an on your property. We ask that you not bulldoze the sand out from under your house until the dune is built in front, and the king tides subside at the end of the week. The sand under your house is packed hard and is helping to keep the high tides from coming under the houses and causing damage. If it is moved now, it is soft and the tide will just wash it away.
We recognize that the next 40% of the island to the north lost 30 to 60 feet of dunes, and there are houses in the Historic District with beach at their front porches. The northernmost 25% of the island lost an average of 20 feet of dunes. Our engineers are working on permits to continue dune rebuilding from Hazard Street north, but it’s probably going to take up to a couple of weeks to get permits and complete the work south of Hazard, as the King Tides keep washing out some of what gets built up, but it is stopping most of the potential over wash, and keeping infrastructure safe. The Town will rebuild dunes as was done after Joaquin on all of the island as quickly as we can get permits.
The Town has contracted to clear debris off of the beach as soon as possible, and has entered into an agreement with the Highway department to remove debris from the road sides. Guidelines can be found at http://www.georgetowncountysc.org/. You are asked to place any hurricane-related debris you would like removed in the public right-of-way NOT THE STREET ITSELF. For debris to be picked up, it must be separated into the categories listed on the county web site and must be un-bagged. Owners should not place debris near a water meter vault, fire hydrant or any other above-ground utility, and should avoid placing it directly under power lines. Contractors will make multiple passes beginning Wednesday, October 19 through impacted areas. If owners cannot safely set out debris at this time, or if contractors cannot safely enter submerged or blocked areas, additional debris removal passes will be scheduled. For more information, call (843) 545-3999 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
The Town will be updating this web page as more information is available. THANKS FOR YOUR PATIENCE!