Some Hancock County officials fear Tropical Storm Bill is undoing their efforts to enhance the beach. The county will take bids next week on a $700,000 renourishment project.
Geoffrey Clemens watched Lili and Isidore devastate some areas of Hancock County beach last year. The county engineer says the duo washed away as much as 100 feet of sand in some areas.
"It's scary because the same thing could happen again and we'll be right back where we started, if not worse, if we get another storm that comes through," said Clemens.
As frustrating as Mother Nature can be, Clemens says not trying to protect the sand beach would be worse.
"Obviously everyone enjoys the beach and it's a big tourism draw, but also it's what protects our shoreline," he said. "The areas where you've got seawall with no sand beach in front of it, you've got constant wave action just pounding on your seawall and on your road. It starts undermining the road and road collapses, drainage culverts start collapsing and moving and you get big wash outs."
Tropical Storm Bill isn't causing as much concern for Harrison County beaches. Sand Beach Director Bobby Weaver says he sees Bill as an inconvenience that must be dealt with.
"It's just really a nuisance storm, it creates a little more work for us, a little more storm debris, other than that it's just something we have to deal with," Sand Beach Director Bobby Weaver said.
Weaver says he's not yet sure if the beach will be in shape for the holiday weekend. He says he won't know that until the storm clears out and clean up begins. Weaver says when clean up does begin sand beach crews will concentrate first on high use areas near hotels and motels.