Ana causes damage to New Hanover County beaches

Ana cause sever escarpments to New Hanover County beaches. (Source: TOWB and longhorn61068)
Ana cause sever escarpments to New Hanover County beaches. (Source: TOWB and longhorn61068)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Tropical Storm Ana hit the coast of Southeastern North Carolina hard this weekend, causing severe damage to several beaches in New Hanover County.

Wrightsville Beach currently has a 2-4 foot escarpment stretching about one mile from Johnnie Mercer's Pier to the north end of the island.

Mayor Bill Blair of Wrightsville Beach considers the damage minor to moderate, compared to neighboring beaches.  He said the repairs to the dunes should only be a one or two day project, once they get approval from the state.

An estimate of how much the repairs would cost is unknown at this time, however, Mayor Blair believes they should be able to fix it internally with their own equipment.

Carolina Beach was also damaged by Tropical Storm Ana.  Freeman Park closed early Sunday morning because of erosion, but reopened Monday.

Sergeant Ward with the Carolina Beach Police Department said on Sunday evening that the shoreline suffered damage between markers 18 and 20, near the North End. Ward also said there is a large amount of standing water around marker 24.

Several visitors were out and about on Carolina Beach taking a look at Ana's impacts Monday.

Tyler Moore and his father said they have been coming to the north end of Carolina Beach for the past 15 years and were shocked to see how much was gone.

"We looked down and were not expecting to see the drop off, because normally the sand over here is just about even with the rocks," Moore said, pointing to the sand along the coastline. "Now it's probably dropped off 8-10 feet especially up under the pier so it was really a shock. Then we walked down the beach (towards the north end) and to see how much of the beach was gone was really surprising."

However, Town Manager Michael Cramer said in the grand scheme of things those damages are minimal.

"Really our storm damage reduction program is having the benefit that we want it to have and that is stopping any of the wave action from damaging business, damaging personal property, or our infrastructure," Cramer explained. "So the fact that we have the dunes, that's working, and this is just a normal process of maintaining and keeping those dunes up so we don't have major damage when we have storms like this."

Kramer said the damage that was done is easily fixable. Officials are looking to add a few steps to some accesses that were hit the hardest by the erosion to make it easier for people to get down to the beach.

Also, the town has contacted a contractor to re-stack the rocks along the 1500 block of Carolina Beach Road North, past the Carolina Beach Pier. Some of those rocks have been disheveled due to Ana's impact.

Cramer said the cost of the erosion is estimated to be about $10,000 to $20,000. However, he said they set aside money every year for storm maintenance and this year is no different.

Cramer said repairs could start as early as Tuesday and he is anticipating them to be completed in about a week.

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