Edisto Beach weathers Irma | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | September 13, 2017 5:00 pm
Last Updated: September 13, 2017 at 10:16 am
“Irma came and she was nasty. But, it was much less duration than Matthew. We had built berms out on the beach. Those berms did what they were supposed to do and allowed us to not have so much damage this time.”
– Edisto Mayor Jane Darby
By CINDY CROSBY
Edisto Beach took a lashing from Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, but rebounded better than anticipated based on early damage assessments. Irma first made landfall in the Caribbean early last Wednesday, then left a trail of destruction through the Florida Keys and southwest Florida.
A huge storm, Irma’s reach was felt across Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. The coastline of South Carolina saw a tidal surge that had not been seen since Hurricane Hugo.
To date, 48 lives have been blamed on Irma — 35 in the Caribbean, six in Florida, three in Georgia and four in South Carolina.
Early reports from Edisto Beach during the heart of the storm did not look promising, especially considering the $17 million beach renourishment project just recently completed.
However, after early damage assessments were completed Tuesday morning, Edisto Beach weathered Irma better than expected with most damages being brought about by the surge, moderate wind and the possible tornadic activity in Live Oak Campground.
Two to three feet of sand covered parts of Palmetto Boulevard on Tuesday, compared to five to six feet of sand during Matthew.
“We at Edisto Beach had hoped to never see you again in this position; however, we are very grateful that Irma was a much nicer person than Matthew,” said Mayor Jane Darby during Tuesday’s midday press conference held in front of Finn’s Island Grill on Palmetto Boulevard. “We can stand here today and tell you this will be a much easier recovery and, consequently, re-entry will be much easier. Myself, along with our department heads, are pleased to announce limited re-entry to Edisto Beach can begin at 2 p.m. today. The curfew will be re-established beginning at 8 p.m. until 7 a.m. Wednesday Sept. 13 and should additional curfews be necessary, it will be announced.”
“Irma came and she was nasty,” said Darby. “But, it was much less duration than Matthew. We had built berms out on the beach. Those berms did what they were supposed to do and allowed us to not have so much damage this time.”
Darby went on to state that she anticipates the cleanup from Irma will be be a much shorter period of time than from Matthew.
An estimated 60-90 residents hunkered down on Edisto Beach for Irma. “On Friday evening, during house-to-house notifications, we determined 143 people were staying,” said Darby. “When conditions began to go downhill, some of those chose to leave. We did have some people make bad choices yesterday — six people and one dog were rescued yesterday when they chose to drive in areas that were not suitable. One of them lost their vehicle because of that decision.”
“This time we have sand, but it is not to the depth and quantity that it was during Matthew,” said Darby. “Water was our biggest problem yesterday. I am pleased to say we have very little property damage. What damage there is can be repaired.”
When asked about the recent beach renourishment project, Darby said she was happy to see the design held up well and did the job. “We over-nourished last time,” said Darby. “I am pleased to say that we hope we have most of our sand. We have our consultant qualifying any loss or gain today. It may be rearranged, but we believe most of the sand stayed.”
Plans are to move the sand off of Palmetto Boulevard back onto the beach as was done during Matthew.
A few points made by Darby during the Tuesday press conference included:
• Bring water and non-perishable food for several days.
• A major water leak will require the water to be shut-off on Tuesday, followed by a boil-water advisory for several days.
• Water and sewage usage should be restricted until further notice
• Golf carts must be unplugged and moved from underneath homes due to fire hazards.
• There are many areas with standing water, along with sand on Palmetto.
• You may have to park in a safe area to avoid contractors and walk to your home.
• Do not enter standing water as it contains hazards.
• Bring protective clothing, including insect repellant, gloves and hats.
• Accessible areas will have garbage pickup on Wednesday.
• The Red Cross will have cleaning supplies and water at Bay Creek Park.