TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – Local businesses and city leaders on Tybee Island are gearing up for tropical storm Isaias.
Saturday night the tide came all the way into the beach crossovers. Lifeguard officials closed the water to the public and City Manager Shawn Gillen said the city plans to restrict water access through Monday.
The owner of Tybee Beach Vacation Rentals told WSAV he is preparing for wind impact and said he has already had cancelations.
“We’ve had probably a half a dozen cancelations. People just didn’t want to take a risk,” Keith Gay said.
As the island prepares for the tropical storm, Gillen said the recently completed beach re-nourishment project will be a major asset if the island gets any storm surges throughout hurricane season.
“We had some huge gaps in our dune system, so we filled in those gaps with a 12 foot dune that is now vegetated and is solid and that’s going to help. It doesn’t mean the water won’t necessarily get in there but it will help stop a velocity wave from getting in there and wiping out the businesses and homes right along the beach,” Gillen added.
Gillen said the island expects the tide to come in over 10 and a half feet through Monday: “So that means there might be a little bit of water on 80. It probably won’t shut down 80 unless that tide goes really high.”
Gay said if the island and surrounding areas get hit by a major storm this year, it could have even more severe consequences than it’s had in the past.
“The impact of having people cancel reservations whether it’s from COVID-19, and that has happened and does happen with some regularity, or there’s a big hurricane coming in; yeah, it would be a big financial blow. I think there would probably be some businesses that wouldn’t survive,” Gay said.
Gillen urged people to have a plan in place and know how they’d respond under all circumstances.
“Having a place to go, have thought all of these steps through. How do you get there, what are you going to do with your pets? One of the more sad aftereffects of a storm is the pets couldn’t be taken with you and they wind up being abandoned,” Gillen stated.