Beaufort News

St. Helena's Coffin Point among areas hammered by high water, resident says

St. Helena Island resident Sandy Schepis stands on the exposed roots of a tree in her neighbor's yard along McTeer Drive as the high tide rises around it on Thursday. Last week's storm tides left a sandy beach where a grassy lawn used to be her yard, visible in background.
St. Helena Island resident Sandy Schepis stands on the exposed roots of a tree in her neighbor's yard along McTeer Drive as the high tide rises around it on Thursday. Last week's storm tides left a sandy beach where a grassy lawn used to be her yard, visible in background. jkarr@islandpacket.com

When Andrew Seward bought his house off St. Helena's Coffin Point Road a few years ago, the seller said the water had barely reached the bulkhead during the worst of weather.

This past weekend, waves came within inches of clearing the 4 1/2-foot structure, Seward said. His neighbors fared worse after water swept away dunes and entered backyards.

One neighbor lost a 300-foot dock, Seward said. Another had a boat lift badly damaged.

Seward's own dock was twisted and damaged but can be repaired, he said.

Water rarely crosses the dune in front of Seward's bulkhead, but parts of the dune were swept away Saturday.

The stories are latest from parts of Beaufort County hammered by the rare weather system and unusually high tides as much of the county escaped relatively untouched.

"Mother Nature can humble you," Seward said.

One of Seward's neighbors, Sandy Schepis, said the surge caused about 15 to 20 feet of erosion behind her beachfront home. Sand and debris littered her yard. Another neighbor lost the rocks bolstering her property, Schepis said.

She said she doesn't know how much more the beach can take before something has to be done.

"It's a little bit of paradise, and it really did get hammered pretty hard," she said.

Jim McCort visited his home in Coffin Point for the first time last week after closing the purchase in June.

Over the weekend, the dock he co-owns with a neighbor was swept away, leaving only the pilings out to a stranded gazebo and jet ski on a boat lift.

Water flooded McCort's front yard and crossed the road.

Nearby on Little Horse Island, all of the wild ponies are accounted for after the rain, said St. Helena resident and retired veterinarian Venaye Reece McGlashan, who cares for the animals.

She said the seven adult ponies and one 2-year-old sought high ground to escape the water. The ponies had fresh water from an automatic trough and McGlashan gave them hay when they couldn't graze.

"Everything is slowly returning to normal out there," she said.

Follow reporter Stephen Fastenau at twitter.com/IPBG_Stephen.

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