North Myrtle Beach assesses beach dune erosion and damage - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

North Myrtle Beach assesses beach dune erosion and damage

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – City officials have assessed the historic flooding damage in North Myrtle Beach. City Spokesperson Patrick Dowling says the areas hardest hit were north of Sea Mountain Highway and the Cherry Grove area.

“I have a picture of the city manager, standing on the beach, reaching up with one arm, and not reaching the top of the dune. He's a good--he's a 6 foot 2 person. So in some areas it was considerable,” Dowling explained.

Dowling said according to NOAA, North Myrtle Beach received 21.9 inches of rainfall from October 2 to October 4.

“There’s not much you can do, no storm water drain is going to handle that, and of course the thing that affected the beaches, was partially the rain because flooding on the street side went through to the dunes to try and find an outlet in the ocean,” Dowling said.

The flood water damaged the dunes in more ways than one.

“Both sand lost, dunes breached, and we do want to make people aware, that some of the dune walk-overs are no longer connected to dunes by sometimes three to four feet, or the steps as you go down onto the beach, are undermined by a couple of feet,” Dowling said.

Dowling says people should time their walks on the beach, because high tide may come up further. As much as he explains tourism and having beach space for people to set up on is important, Dowling says they need to keep the dune system intact.

“Because then you're talking about the potential damage to structures, and people and high tide, we're not at that place yet, but we certainly need to renourish that part of the beach,” Dowling said.

Dowling says this isn't a matter of bulldozing sand onto the beaches, it's a matter of funding, and it's a process they are starting now.

Dowling says city officials are working with local, state and federal leaders to acquire the funding to get these issues fixed. Dowling says funding should become available through the emergency declarations signed this week.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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