PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – In the days since Hurricane Ian made landfall in South Carolina, coastal communities have been picking up the pieces.
That includes Pawleys Island, which is 13 miles north of Georgetown, where the storm made landfall. The island was heavily impacted by the hurricane.
Storm surge inundated the island impacting roadways, homes, the beach, infrastructure, and more. Most of Pawleys Island lost power for several hours. Additionally, part of the Pawleys Island pier washed away during the storm.
“Well, the main climate impact was the storm surge inundation. That brought a lot of water across our roadways and across the island. We’re talking about five to seven feet..at least five feet across the island,” said Daniel Newquist, the town administrator.
Newquist said he rode out the storm from town hall, a raised building, and used the mailbox as a point of reference for storm surge.
“I lost sight of the mailbox at one point so it was at least a foot above that point,” he said.
Once a majority of the water receded the damage could be surveyed. Newquist says the most heavily impacted portions of the island were the roads, the beach, beach access points, the pier, and docks.
Over the weekend, state and federal agencies, including the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made their way to the island to begin assisting with cleanup and evaluate the damages.
“We’re trying to get all the support we can. SCDOT has mobilized and done a tremendous favor for the town,” said Newquist.
SCDOT assisted with cleaning up roads.
“So we’re very grateful for that. We also had a contingent of Army Corps officials evaluating the damage across the beach. And we’ll be coordinating the county in terms of if we’re eligible for FEMA funds.”
Many beach access points, docks, and a portion of the pier are heavily damaged or completely destroyed.
“Beach accessways are very limited,” said Newquist.
The island was closed to non-residents over the weekend to allow locals a chance to pick up the pieces.
Now all roadways are back open, power is restored, and recovery efforts will be underway for the coming weeks and months. Newquist says the community is coming together to bring Pawleys Island back to its former glory.
“We’ve had a lot of people come and help our police department with meals and things like that cause they were working overtime. The community has been great in terms of asking ‘how can I help,’ ‘thank you for what your doing,’ and ‘let’s get Pawleys Island back.'”