One year after Ian: How businesses, residents plan to weather future storms

Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 11:05 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2023 at 11:17 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) -- This weekend will mark one year since Hurricane Ian left its mark on South Carolina.

The storm flooded homes, businesses and tore apart several piers, and even washed a shrimp boat ashore in Myrtle Beach.

Hurricane Ian made landfall near Georgetown as a Category One hurricane at around 2:05 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.

North Myrtle Beach crews determined the powerful storm caused $13.1 million to buildings inside the city limits.

The effects of Hurricane Ian were felt all across the Grand Strand as multiple storm surges and flood warnings were issued throughout the day.

“I was watching the water rise near my trailer and I said I think we better head north,” said Bill Robey.

Bill Robey and his wife Vickey cut their vacation a few days short last year as Hurricane Ian made its way toward the Grand Strand.

“Our direct thought was we’re glad that we got out,” said Robey.

One of those who stayed through the storm was Kendra Meras and her family in Cherry Grove.

While their home was raised off the ground, watching the water rise to heights they’d never seen was concerning.

“The King Tides made the flooding worse than we were prepared for so it was a lot of worrying about the damage and realizing it’s gonna be a big cleanup process,” said Kendra Meras.

The family still has the waterline left by Ian marked as a reminder of the storm.

North, Myrtle Beach Councilwoman, Nikki Fontana said many of those houses on the coast had no protection once the dunes were overtaken by the tide.

“Those dunes help with the beach erosion and with the storms that come in those dunes are there to protect the water from coming up high and getting to any of the residential or commercial properties behind them,” said Fontana.

As for those living in the area, they say they’re better prepared if another storm heads their way.

“We’ve been through it once and we’ll be ready for it if it comes again,” said Meras.

Fontana said the city of North Myrtle Beach is working on beach renourishment plans with the Army Corp of Engineers, but nothing is finalized.

As for the Cherry Grove Pier, ownership expects it to re-open early next spring.