Island Vibes Jan 2024

7 OPINION o all beach lovers, this past Sunday’s weather event was a totally unexpected perfect storm. I say this because as the moon grows larger, the tides rise accordingly, plus we had a nor’easter passing by with wind speeds of 3550 mph blowing onshore with a very rough surf. It came at a time when our already fragile beaches had already been damaged from a previous storm back in August. The city rightfully used our 1 percent vacation rental beach renourishment tax to start emergency dune building in the most endangered three blocks nearest Breach Inlet. The city has been working with the Army Corps of Engineers to use sand dredged from the Intracoastal Waterway for a highly-anticipated beach renourishment by the Army Corps of Engineers all along Ocean Boulevard. As a lifelong resident, I walk the beaches at least once a week and always after a storm event, while at the same time taking pictures. This Sunday after the storm broke and the tide was mostly out, I walked to Breach Inlet. After well more than 50 years of walking the beach, I saw more damage to the southwestern end of the island than I’ve ever seen before except for Hurricane Hugo. The dunes were wiped flat, not to mention that the tide was 12.52’ and flooded basically the whole island. This Sunday’s tide was not hurricane-driven, just a strong nor’easter with high winds on a high tide causThe Perfect Storm Recent flooding raises beach erosion concerns By Jimmy Carroll, former Isle of Palms mayor T ing the fourth highest tide recorded in Charleston at 9.62’. But what set this storm apart was that most of the Ocean Boulevard homes have been developed since Hugo and many have in-ground pools. As mentioned above, the city rightfully used the beach renourishment rental tax money to strengthen the areas most impacted, from 100 Ocean to 3rd Avenue. On Sunday, I counted at least seven pools standing out on the beach, which were in a condition that I would consider totaled. The most amazing thing I saw was a human-built sea wall, standing way out in front of the next-door neighbors. I took pictures of this spot back in late August and there was no sea wall, as one would not have been permitted. What this seawall did was exacerbate the washing out of sand on either side. OCRM (Ocean & Coastal Resource Management) would never have allowed such a wall. We must realize that living on the coast there is a constant ebb and flow of currents and a constant change in beach profiles. The most dynamic are those on inlets, and buyers need to be aware. I encourage everyone to Google Orrin Pilkey, a coastal geologist who advised the Isle of Palms city to not build close to the ocean due to longshore drift and sandbar migration. Hopefully, the Army Corps project will give everyone that break with their upcoming project starting in January and February. I feel for everyone affected, and please let’s all work together in protecting our beaches. Photos Provided.