LONG BEACH, Miss. — Heavy surf driven by a persistent storm system is piling up debris and seaweed along beaches in Harrison County.
County sand beach director Chuck Loftis told WLOX-TV (http://bit.ly/1nKQwaq) that the pounding surf also is eroding beaches in some places.
Officials expect an extensive cleanup effort once the storm pulls away.
Loftis said it should take about 10 days to clean the beaches in Harrison County, longer if bad weather persists.
"We got it probably from about Long Beach all the way through Biloxi with this seaweed. A little bit more toward Pass Christian but not as bad as it is this way," Loftis said.
"It's going to be pretty severe. We are having some help from the road department of Harrison County," said Loftis.
At Hewes Avenue in Gulfport, erosion has pushed the Gulf of Mexico to within 20 feet of the seawall, Loftis said.
"We might have to do a replenishment in certain areas. Maybe later on in the year or the first part of next year, but we'll have to look into that," said Loftis.
A pristine beach is important to business people who depend on the white sand for their livelihood, such as Drew Daniels.
"When people come here, they want to see a nice clean beach, and when the stuff comes up here like the seaweed, they don't want to walk in it and sometimes we have to clear off paths and everything but when it's nicer, people come out more," Daniels said.
Those who walk the beach every day, like Paul McNeil, know the weather-fouled beach is just part of life on the Mississippi Coast.
"Well, they'll get it done once they get it cleaned up and it will look good for a while and then, like you say, it's a never ending battle," said McNeil.
Mississippi's coastal counties and Louisiana parishes to the west have been drenched by a storm system that has affected the area for almost a week.