PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. (WIS) - City officials are cleaning up around Pawleys Island after high winds and a seven foot storm surge caused damage on the south side of the island.
Pawleys Island has the highest concentration of workers from the Department of Transportation of any place across the state. They are working to remove up to four feet of sand from roadways and clear drainage systems, Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall said.
Sand dunes on the south side of the island were breached when the storm surge began around 11:30 a.m. Thursday, before receding nearly eight hours later, Police Chief Michael Fanning said.
As a result, sand was pushed into the middle of Springs Avenue, making it impassable.
“We’ve done this before, this is our fourth hurricane in the last five years that we’ve had to clean the road but this is probably on par with Hurricane Matthew,” Fanning said.
Because of the sand removal, the island is closed to full-time residents until crews with SCDOT and the National Guard complete the work. Some homes along the beach are marked with three foot waterlines, indicating how high the surge was by the time it crossed the street.
The north end of the island faired better, according to Fanning.
“The north end was pretty good," he said. "We had some flooding, some over wash, some trees down that we’re trying to get cleaned up, but for the most part all the houses did well.”
Several Creekside boardwalks were upended by the high winds, many left in twisted piles of wood. One boardwalk’s pavilion was flipped onto its roof.
Seagrass litters the roadways on the way onto the island, ahead of crews cleaning up the debris.
Power and water has been restored to the island as of Friday morning. Fanning said about 130 people live on the island full-time, but that number can easily rise into the thousands as tourists rent beach vacation homes on the island this time of year.