Sand beach crews face busy restoration

Sand beach crews face busy restoration
Heavy equipment crews are out cleaning, raking and smoothing the sand, especially in the high use areas. (Photo source: WLOX)
Heavy equipment crews are out cleaning, raking and smoothing the sand, especially in the high use areas. (Photo source: WLOX)
Four days of 30+ mile an hour winds proved too much for the sand dunes and beach fencing already in place to prevent erosion. (Photo source: WLOX)
Four days of 30+ mile an hour winds proved too much for the sand dunes and beach fencing already in place to prevent erosion. (Photo source: WLOX)

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Several days of high winds, followed by heavy rainfall took a toll on the 26 miles of Harrison County sand beach. The challenge now is getting the beach back in shape for the spring break crowds that are already arriving.

Beach cleaners and rakes and heavy equipment end loaders. All are busy restoring the storm-damaged shoreline: Raking and cleaning and smoothing the beach, while hauling away tons of wayward sand, pushed ashore by Mother Nature.

"It was pretty bad. I mean we had four or five days with 30 plus mile an hour winds. So, it was almost like a small, tropical event we had for a whole week's time," said Sand Beach Director Chuck Loftis.

His crews are hitting the high use areas first.  And time is of the essence; especially with Spring break crowds already arriving.

"It's just going to take us a little time. Because it is a lot of debris that's washed up. The guys starting working first thing this morning. We're going to be working a little bit overtime this week with help from the road department to try and get this done as quickly as possible," said Loftis.

We found a trio of families from Houston, with 14 foster children, visiting the coast.

"They're enjoying the beach. This is their first time at the beach. And then we have white sand. You guys got white sand. So, they're loving it," said Diane Shepard.

Along with shaping and raking the sand on the beach, work crews also face the task of hauling away the tons of sand which blew ashore.

"We're removing some of the sand from the medians. MDOT is removing the sand off your travel lanes. It's their responsibility for that and your parking bays and your turning bays is MDOT's responsibility," said Loftis.

The sand dunes and fencing helped prevent some of the blowing sand, but with three to four days of 30 plus mile an hour winds, there was really little that could stop it.

"On Wednesday, we had probably three or four steps showing on the seawall. And by Friday, it was all the way to the top," said the director.

As long as the weather remains decent, Director Loftis said the entire beach should be back in good shape in about two weeks.

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