Folly Beach battles erosion after one-two punch of Florence and Michael

FOLLY BEACH — Two tropical storms this season arrived in such quick succession that local officials may not even try to figure out how much sand Tropical Storm Michael blew away. The city’s renourishment project, ongoing since the spring, already had been extended after Hurricane Florence. That storm swept 200,000 cubic yards of sand off the beach in the midst of a project to pump material out of the Folly River and back onto the beach, particularly the city’s vulnerable east end.

Before contractors had even finished the supplemental part of their work to build up the beach, Michael arrived as a fast-moving tropical storm.

City Administrator Spencer Wetmore said another survey of how much sand was swept away might not be needed because “the area (contractors had) been repairing from Florence is the same area that would have been impacted by Michael.”

Meanwhile, beachgoers have posted photos on social media of groins uncovered by the storm and scarping, or erosion that creates small cliffs in the sand.

Scarping is largely expected after renourishment projects as the slope of the beach evens out to a natural equilibrium.

“If you’ve ever been here for a previous renourishment, it happened then, too. It’s not something new,” Mayor Tim Goodwin said. “That phenomenon is not new, the people that’s seeing it are new.”

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