Hurricane Arthur spinning by on Thursday had little apparent impact on beaches near Charleston, other than kicking up some nice waves for surfers.
About $30 million worth of sand was hauled in to Folly Beach recently to rebuild land lost to erosion. The passing storm caused no apparent damage, Mayor Tim Goodwin said Friday.
"It blew some sand around, but we always get that," he said. "We were lucky this time."
The beaches are vital to South Carolina's $18 billion tourism industry. The beaches on Folly, Sullivan's, Isle of Palms and Kiawah Island were all packed on hot and sunny Friday.
There have been few storms and millions spent on beach rebuilding projects in recent years, according to coastal regulators. As a result, beaches around the state are in good shape to withstand what the new hurricane season may bring.
A look at the state of the beaches in South Carolina:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has spent about $80 million during the past decade rebuilding beaches along the coast for storm protection. Those projects include pouring sand on the beaches in the Myrtle Beach area, on Folly Beach and on Hunting Island near Beaufort. Local communities pay a share of the projects.
Areas along inlets at the end of barrier islands are dynamic and experience erosion, said Jim Beasley, a spokesman for the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. Trouble spots include Wild Dunes on the Isle of Palms, the northeast end of Sullivan's Island, the northeast end of Harbor Island and the southern end of Pawleys Island. DeBordieu Beach in Georgetown County is also experiencing erosion.
In the long run
The Folly Beach and Myrtle Beach renourishment projects were authorized in the 1990s for 50 years. That includes periodic maintenance work like the project just completed at Folly Beach, said Brian Williams, a project manager for the Charleston District of the Corps of Engineers.
Before approaching storms, pictures are taken and surveys conducted of Corps projects to see what shape they are in. Then, when a storm passes, more checks are made to determine how well the projects held up and if repairs are needed, Williams said.
Better than before Hugo
Hurricane Hugo is the storm by which all others are measured in South Carolina - a Category 4 storm with 135 mph winds that smashed into Charleston a quarter century ago. Beasley said the state's beaches are generally in better shape now. One reason is seawalls are no longer allowed along the coast. The waves reflecting off seawalls scour the beachfront, causing a loss of sand. In addition, the 1990s saw the start of large-scale renourishment projects.
Cost of maintenance
Beasley said there is no current estimate, but DHEC is collecting data to come up with a figure on just what is needed.
Dave Munday of The Post and Courier contributed to this story.