Fly over damage on Pawleys Island after Hurricane Dorian
People slowly began to return to Pawleys Island after officials reopened access to the causeways, though the area remained quiet Friday afternoon except for the rumble of work trucks.
“Several feet of sand and debris” covered main roadways after the storm, said Midway Fire Chief Doug Eggiman. His department performed structural assessments of every house and surveyed the overall damage with a drone.
Broadly, the damage was to stairways, decks and walkways, Eggiman said.
“The houses all seemed to fare reasonably well,” he said.
Several private docks around the island were upended.
Wood planks that were once steps that led from homes to the beach dotted the sand. Some debris from the ocean also washed ashore. Beachfront homes were spared any significant damage and residents said they were happy with the result.
“Its nerve-racking,” said Jody Tamsberg, who lives along the beach in south Pawleys Island. “All in all we’re pleased with what we’re finding.”
Tamsberg and his family surveyed the damage on their property, which included part of their float dock on the marsh side of their property washing away.
“I don’t see any great structural damage we can’t handle,” he said.
Officials said sand was three-feet deep in some areas and compared the cleanup efforts to Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Officials shut down access to Pawleys Island ahead of Dorian’s arrival. Police on scene Friday morning said only about a half-dozen people chose to stay during the storm. An evacuation order lifted 10 a.m. Friday and causeways opened after SCDOT inspections.
Power and water have resumed, but a 48-hour boil advisory is in effect, according to police.
Gov. Henry McMaster said he and other officials toured the coast via helicopter and it appeared Pawleys Island and Litchfield Beach had more beach erosion than other places.
Secretary of Department of Transportation Christy Hall said highway and National Guard crews were working to clean the debris in southern Pawleys Island.
“Pawleys Island is currently our highest priority in this area,” Hall said.
Damage around South Strand on Friday morning appeared minimal: broken tree limbs, but no major tree damage or flooding.
By early morning, beachgoers in Garden City were combing the sands for shells and picking up garbage Dorian swept in.
Fiona Wills brought her 4-year-old son, Oaklan, to the beach to run off some energy after a day cooped up inside.
“This is the first hurricane he remembers and has stayed for,” Wills said. “In the past we have evacuated because he was so little.”
Thankfully, she said, they didn’t lose power, and so he had Winnie the Pooh and Garfield on Netflix to pass the time. Oaklan eagerly ran around looking for shark teeth and whatever else looked interesting in the sand.
Tammy Miller, who was out looking for shells, said her home was undamaged.
“Up until the day before we weren’t sure if we were leaving or not,” said Miller, who has lived here 3 1/2 years and also stayed for Florence. But staying was the right call, she said.