Bethany Beach Feels Effects of Nor'easter
BETHANY BEACH, Del. - On Monday Delaware's coastal towns were still feeling the effects of the nor'easter that came up the coast over the weekend. Bethany Beach, South Bethany, and Fenwick Island were last replenished in the summer of 2018.
The most recent beach replenishment cost $19.2 million. Delaware contributed $7.5 million. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control says the replenishment will not take place again for about another year and a half.
Ed Smyth had a beach home in Bethany Beach in the 1950's. He visits often to see his sons who live here now.
"In the winter it erodes," he says. "In the spring it starts coming back."
DNREC Environmental Program Administrator Michael Powell says the nor'easter caused some minor erosion to Bethany's beach dunes over the weekend and that storms like this prove that beach replenishment works.
"It's preventing damage to the boardwalk," says Powell. "It's preventing flooding. The beach is kind of a sacrificial source of sand. A lot of it will come back. The storm moves sand off the beach into the near shore and it will migrate back up onto the beach when we get calmer weather."
Moving sand is something the town knows how to deal with. Mayor Lew Killmer says it's not uncommon for nor'easters to hit Bethany this time of year and that the town is always prepared. He says the dune in front of the boardwalk is especially important in keeping the water away from infrastructure.
"As you see here they push a lot of water here into the town and also the problems with our back bays," says Mayor Killmer. "It keeps on pushing our back bays into the Indian River Inlet and it doesn't allow them to come out. When we ask people to build homes, we make sure we use FEMA guidelines," he says.
Businesses say they're used to this kind of weather. Bethany Beach Books Manager Amanda Zirn-Hudson welcomes the storms that bring in more customers.
"I think we've boarded up once for a hurricane but otherwise we're pretty used to nor'easters," says Zirn-Hudson. "The good thing about it is that everyone comes to the store to get a book while they're up looking at the beach."
DNREC says when the time comes for Bethany to be replenished again, it will work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to avoid scheduling that project during the summer.