HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Hancock County beaches remain closed as the damage from Hurricane Isaac is assessed. It's an especially hard blow since the county was in the middle of a replenishment project to undo the damage from Hurricane Katrina seven years ago.
Right before Isaac, 300,000 cubic yards of fluffy white sand had been pumped in and crews were in the process of spreading it in areas where sand had been eroded away by previous storms.
"We were about 98-percent complete," said Hancock County District 1 Supervisor David Yarborough. "I was devastated. When you get to that point and then you've got to start over."
Engineers have spent the past couple of weeks trying to determine just how much of the new sand was lost during the storm.
"They're GPSing and have used instrumentation to shoot the elevations and compare it to the previous. Looks like to date we've found we've lost somewhere around 40,000 to 50,000 cubic yards of sand," said Hancock County Road Manager Bill Johnson. "Again, we're not finished. Rain has slowed us down."
From Bayou Caddy to Whispering Pines Street in Waveland, about 75 to 80 percent of the beach debris is cleaned up. And the thousands of dead nutria that littered the beach are gone, too.
"From Whispering Pines back to Washington Street, where we are located today, is more like in the 50 percent range," Johnson said.
Sections of the beach could be open by the end of September.
"Once the beach is clean, it will be usable more so than presentable, I guess you can say," explained Yarborough.
County leaders say it's too early to say exactly how much money it will take to restore the beach, but they estimate it could exceed $2 million. Hancock County Supervisor David Yarborough said the weather will be a big factor is how fast the clean-up work is finished.