CCU grad students use drones to understand how storms impact coastline

CCU uses drones to monitor dunes

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – Coastal Carolina University graduate students will use Hurricane Dorian as a way to prepare for future storms.

The students flew a drone up and down the dunes Tuesday in Cherry Grove. They will turn that information into 3D models and compare it to images taken over time to see the exact change and measure the sand lost on the dunes.

The university has collected this kind of data for years but said getting it before the storm will allow them to better understand how storms effect the coastline. That information can help us better prepare for storms and predict future impacts.

“Goals of the renourishment project is to try to sustain or expand the durability of the beach to various pressures like storm surges and better understand the rate of those changes, where the problem areas are. The hope is we can become more efficient, we can plan better, we can make these very expensive projects a little cheaper in the future to maintain our coastline,” said Dr. Paul Gayes, the executive director of Burroughs and Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies.

Gayes said the team will try to get back out to the dunes as soon as they can following the storm to get the best picture of Dorian’s impact.

CCU will take the information collected on Tuesday and will use it to help city, county and federal leaders better plan for how to maintain the South Carolina coast.

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