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Area beaches survive Irene will little erosion

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — The higher than normal tides and massive waves caused by Hurricane Irene were predicted to wreak havoc on our area’s beaches, but thanks to the shift in her track, the impact was minimal.

“You come out here today, and you look at Wrightsville Beach, for example, you wouldn’t necessarily know we had a storm a couple days ago,” said Greg Williams of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Sunday, the Army Corps of Engineers did preliminary damage assessments of our area’s beaches and the effects from Hurricane Irene. Williams says all in all, Pender, New Hanover and Brunswick County beaches fared pretty well.

“The track of Hurricane Irene was really beneficial to the beaches in southeastern North Carolina, because it wasn’t a direct impact,” Williams said. “They still had impact. They still had big waves and erosion.”

The two ways engineers assess damage to beaches are the condition of the berms and erosion to the dunes.

“After irene, we found no scarping from Wrightsville Beach,” Williams said. “There was some dune scarps observed on Carolina (beach) and Kure (Beach).”

Though there was no significant damage to Wrightsville Beach, folks say Irene did leave an impression.

Jo Pickett is a surf instructor. She says she did notice a few changes after the storm.

“We still have a sand bar, and we can still surf here, but we do have a deeper trough here close to the beach, and down at the jetty we have a huge pile of sand,” Pickett said.

Williams says beach nourishment was a huge factor in why beaches made out so well.

“By in large, the beaches performed exactly the way they were designed,” he said. “They provided protection from the elevated water levels.”

Williams says it is important for beaches to have renourishment every three to four years to keep a protective barrier.

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