Hurricane Matthew didn’t do Hilton Head Island’s beaches any favors.
Tropical Storm Irma didn’t either.
Irma wreaked havoc on the beaches this past week, compounding damage from Hurricane Matthew and further exposing homes in the South Beach Sea Pines community.
Dunes were breached across the island by storm surges brought from Irma when it hit the Lowcountry on Monday, said Scott Liggett, town director of public projects and facilities.
The worst damage from the storm is on a two-mile stretch on South Beach that was already damaged by Matthew, Liggett said. He said about 20 to 30 feet of the beach was wiped away along that stretch.
“We now have private property that is sitting on the active beach,” Liggett said.
Dozens of homes in Sea Pines have sat exposed to any abnormal ocean surge since Hurricane Matthew occurred in October last year.
A delay to fix the damage came as the town worked to attain permits and schedule a contractor to renourish the beach.
Contractors started rolling their equipment onto the beach to repair the issues in August. The project was halted last week ahead of Irma, with town manager Steve Riley saying the town was not as far as it would like to be on the project.
Liggett said it is unknown how much sand was lost or shifted by Irma, but it is likely to be less than the 650,000 cubic yards lost during Matthew.
There are a few options to fix the damage. The first is to modify the job for contractors already working on South Beach to include the new damage.
This didn’t work for the town last year when its contractor, hired to complete its island-wide renourishment project, decided it had to move on to other jobs.
Another option would be to allow the contractor to finish the job it has already started, Liggett said. Temporary fixes, such as pushing sand up around the house to create a barrier could be used until another contractor is hired.