PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. (WBTW) – Residents and homeowners and Pawleys Island came home to moderate damage from Hurricane Matthew on Monday.
Those who lived or were contracted were allowed back on the northern and central sections of the island around 11 a.m. Throughout the day, a steady number of people drove through a guarded checkpoint to access those areas.
Town Administrator Ryan Fabbri says a majority of damage to properties happened on the ground level of homes – many of which were on stilts. Some had shingles missing, while others had siding and air conditioning units ripped off of them. During a tour of the island, Fabbri took News13 to a home that partially collapsed in the storm.
“Before the event, a lot of Hugo was thrown around, so people just assumed it was a bad storm. [They] assumed the results were going to be consistent with what happened in Hugo, and that’s certainly not the case. [It’s] not nearly as bad,” Fabbri explained.
Fabbri says survey teams had trouble accessing the southern section of the island immediately after Hurricane Matthew due to debris. On Monday, National Guard teams worked to clear sand covering Springs Avenue. Officials estimated it to be two to three feet deep.
Those who live or manage properties on the south end of the island could be allowed back in that section as early as tomorrow and no later than Wednesday, Fabbri estimates. Safety, town officials say, is of concern.
Prior to Hurricane Matthew impacting Pawleys Island, police shut down public beach accesses and parking lots. Almost all of the accesses in Pawleys Island, Fabbri said, were destroyed by the storm. Planks and pieces of the walkways were littered along the dunes and beach on Monday.
Fabbri says power continues to be the biggest concern for residents looking to get back to normal. He says Santee Cooper teams were assessing damage and power lines on Monday; however, there’s no timeframe on when it will be restored.
Fabbri says there are just over 500 homes on Pawleys Island and 70 percent of those are rental homes.