Folly Beach officials worry Michael could cause more sand loss

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Officials on Folly Beach are preparing for impacts from Hurricane Michael while still recovering from sand loss due to Hurricane Florence.

Although Folly Beach dodged bad weather conditions from Hurricane Florence, a portion of the beach suffered from a loss of sand.

“The sand served its purpose,” Folly Beach City Administrator Spencer Wetmore said. “We sacrificed sand, but didn’t have property losses.”

Sand loss from Florence came during a $10 million beach renourishment project, which is targeted at replacing sand lost on Folly Beach during Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Irma.

That renourishment project was originally supposed to put more than 700,000 cubic yards of sand back on the beach.

Florence washed some of that replacement sand away.

On Monday, Folly Beach officials announced the crew behind the renourishment project agreed to replace sand lost during Florence while they continue to replace sand lost during Matthew and Irma.

“So we actually were able to put back all of the sand we lost during Florence,” Wetmore said. “It wasn’t a lot, about a quarter of what we put in that area.”

As another storm threatens South Carolina, all eyes on Folly are on the beach.

“Definitely. It’s a worry for how it’s going to affect the landscape of everything,” Johns Island resident Maggie Fitzgerald said. “Hopefully, by the time it makes landfall, it won’t be too hard and we’ll just get a lot of rain.”

Officials on Folly Beach said the same option of replacing new lost sand may not be possible for Hurricane Michael.

“We’d be on a fourth chance at this point in terms of extending or modifying the contract,” Wetmore said. “I don’t know if that would be an option. We’re going to have to hope for the best on that one.”

Officials on Folly Beach said they have not distributed sand bags.

For now, city officials are just encouraging people to watch the weather and remain cautious.

“They’ll have the hands on it. I’m not worried about it,” Folly Beach resident Regina Smith said. “They’ll keep Folly safe and beautiful, and we’ll be fine.”

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