Heavy rains and pounding surf turn beaches into a big mess

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - You'll be seeing a lot of heavy beach cleaning equipment in the coming days. Debris and seaweed line the beach in Harrison County. Chuck Loftis is the Sand Beach Director.

"We got it probably from about Long Beach all the way through Biloxi with this seaweed. A little bit more towards Pass Christian but not as bad as it is this way," Loftis explained.

Loftis said cleaning up the mess is a big job.

"It's going to be pretty severe. We are having some help from the road department of Harrison County," said Loftis.

That's not the only problem. The pounding surf of the past week has eaten away some the beach. At Hewes Avenue in Gulfport, the water is within 20 feet of the seawall, according to Loftis.

"It's something we're going to have to look at. We might have to do a replenishment in certain areas. Maybe later on in the year or the first part of next year, but we'll have to look into that," said Loftis.

While Loftis admits it's going to be a big challenge getting this beach cleaned up as soon as possible and taking care of the eroded spots, for the beach vendors, the people who make their living off this beach, a pristine beach is extremely important to the bottom line. Drew Daniels is a beach vendor.

"When people come here, they want to see a nice clean beach, and when the stuff comes up here like the seaweed, they don't want to walk in it and sometimes we have to clear off paths and everything but when it's nicer, people come out more," Daniels said.

Those who live here and walk the beach every day, like Paul McNeil, know this is just part of life on the Coast, especially this time of year.

"Well, they'll get it done once they get it cleaned up and it will look good for awhile and then, like you say, it's a never ending battle," said McNeil.

For now, sand beach workers will settle for a small victory in that battle. Loftis says it will take about 10 days to clean the entire stretch of beach, but the job could take longer, depending on the weather.

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