Irma/Maria Affects on Charleston
The tropics have been active this fall! Our thoughts and prayers are with all the people who have been affected by the multiple hurricanes we've had during the past few weeks. Its very unfortunate that Texas, Florida, and now the Caribbean Islands are dealing with some worst case scenarios, but it is the reality of living on the coast or in the islands. Too often we forget the potential threat that these storm systems pose to our vulnerable cities and towns. This fall has been a rude awakening! We are thinking of all our friends in Puerto Rico and hoping they can come out the other side of Maria stronger and more united.
Here in Charleston, we got very lucky with the track of Irma. Charleston especially vulnerable to the storm surge associated with hurricanes and a landfall event similar to Hugo (89') would have been devastating. We are in a low lying region and our beaches are susceptible to massive beach erosion. This is especially true for Folly Beach. Even without large surf, Folly erodes on a yearly basis and depends on re-nourishment to sustain the beach. The Irma swell has eroded the entire beach and at high tide there are only a few spots that have more than 5 feet of beach left. I have seen the Army Corp of Engineers taking measurements and other data which I assume means they are preparing for another re-nourishment project.
In terms of waves, Irma and Maria brought significant swell to our region and we definitely had our moments of great conditions. The Irma swell was plagued by strong NNE winds that made for drifty conditions. But, even with the drift there were some really fun waves to be had. The Maria swell started filtering in this weekend and peaked at a little over head on the sets. This swell is still plagued by N wind but if you're willing to hold your spot in the line up you can catch some gems. We still haven’t seen a perfect day of off shore winds yet but hard to complain since we have been surfing non-stop for three weeks with another three days ahead of us.