Sullivan's Island residents continue cleanup after Irma damages homes, erodes dunes

SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - Two homes on Sullivan's Island saw heavy damage from storm surge and high winds from Irma.

But according to the mayor, most people stayed put during the storm.

On Tuesday, people were cleaning up and checking on damage to the beach

Blue tarps were being pulled over the top of a home on Marshall Boulevard near Station 30.

Mary Chris Liebchow said her grandfather built the house in the 1970s, weathering many Lowcountry storms.

This time, the roof was blown off during Irma.

Friends and family arrived early in the morning, pitching in so repairs could be made.

Across the street, the ocean swept into another home, wiping out Aaron Nettles' party room on the lower level.

"I was down here watching it, every time a wave would hit, it moves the house, it shakes it," Nettles said.

The damage, he estimated, is worse than what he saw from Hurricane Matthew.

Nettles could hear Irma tear the roof off his neighbor's house across the street.

"It was like a weird sound. Sounded like a whistle, a train coming through," he said.

Nettles had just put the finishing touches on repairs from Matthew from last year with a new deck and stairs to the beach.

Those stairs are now gone, washed away by the storm surge.

Parts of the stairs landed in front of Nettles' home, but those aren't from his house.

Several homes lost stairs to the beach.

Irma also ate away at the beach.

Mayor Pat O'Neil said the island lost dunes and saw significant erosion in a number of spots.

But he said the town would not take steps to re-nourish the beach.

"Here, we typically let nature take its course, and nature is pretty cooperative if we're patient," he said.

Across from town hall, low lying businesses took on about six inches of water.

But Irma didn't close the doors at The Co-Op.

"We were the only place open on the island, so we had a big group of people in here," said Liza Rockwell, who works there.

Customers were slowly returning on Tuesday, as life returns to normal.

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