King Tide Takes Out the Pools in South Carolina

Haley Grace223 Headshot
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King Tide. As the name might suggest, it means a tide that is higher than the others. "It only happens once in a while," says Cristy Truesdale, a training specialist for a property management company along the coast of South Carolina. "Some years, we might have one or two, some years none, some years around three or four, but it's really just when all the weather forces align. The day after a king tide passes through, the beach is just gone. High tides cause the beach to erode, too, but king tides definitely exacerbate the issue; it's just a vicious cycle."

She's lived in the area for a long time, providing her first-hand witness of all of the changes the pools and beaches have undergone over the past few decades due to erosion. The images in this article depict the latest evolution of the landscape โ€” namely, the destruction of beachfront pools in the Isle of Palms, S.C.

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In order to help mitigate the situation, local Isle of Palms' officials have tried bringing in temporary solutions like sandbags, but they quickly realized they needed a better, more permanent solution that didn't just litter up the beach.

"After a public meeting in November of 2023, local officials approved a $10 million project, bringing in the Army Corps of Engineers, but it's still only a temporary easement," she says. "Between January and June of 2024, 500,000 cubic yards of sand will be relocated to the Palms, which requires the town to pay for the movement of the sand, but not the sand itself, so it's quite an expensive and intrusive project overall."

Truesdale suggests perhaps the beach houses were built a little too close to the ocean to begin with?

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