DHEC in the News: Charleston flooding, Tropical Storm Irma damage, removable seawalls, West Nile

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Downtown Charleston is flooding more, with or without hurricanes. Here’s why

CHARLESTON David and Claudia Cohen were busy raking debris from their yard and reflecting on Charleston’s third big flood in three years when a car whizzed down Gibbes Street near the Holy City’s historic Battery.

Driving the auto was a neighbor, who slowed just enough to yell sarcastically about Charleston’s watery troubles.

“I’m getting a couple of cyanide pills,’’ the neighbor wisecracked through the rolled-down window. …

Rising sea levels and major storms are swamping streets, neighborhoods and popular tourist attractions with a frequency and intensity that is hard for many people to ignore. The flooding is affecting millions of dollars worth of property in South Carolina’s oldest city, one of the state’s top vacation destinations.

How Tropical Storm Irma damaged South Carolina’s coastal communities

Even though the South Carolina coast was 200 miles or more from the eye of Tropical Storm Irma, the state’s beaches and barrier islands did not escape her wrath.

All of them saw some degree of damage from high winds and rising water. In some cases, beach sand was carried several blocks inland.

Most communities were still assessing their situations at the end of the week, a process that officials said could take months.

Studies at odds on removable seawalls as storm waves slam South Carolina beachfront homes

The surf from Tropical Storm Irma swamped past the pillars meant to prop up the experimental removable seawalls that advocates hoped would protect resort homes in the Wild Dunes and Harbor Island communities.

Whether the removed walls would have made a difference, however, remains in dispute as property owners, conservationists and the state wait on the courts to decide their future.

Meanwhile, the research done so far on their effectiveness is inconclusive.

Mayor Rhodes: “We have just one isolated case of West Nile. And we’re on top of it.”

Myrtle Beach, S.C. — In a Friday evening video message posted to the Myrtle Beach City Government’s Facebook page, Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes told residents there is a case of West Nile Virus in Myrtle Beach.

City officials said the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control confirmed the virus Friday.

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