This is a reader discussion forum on the destructive impacts on coastal regions from hurricanes and tropical systems in regards to beach erosion and needed nourishment after a system makes landfall.
What is beach erosion? The cumulative effects of fast rising and moving water called storm surge and high winds causes beach erosion when these two forces of nature move or blow sand and vegetation from it’s natural area.
Additionally, water and wind can also create sandy areas where none existed, and it can cut new channels of water where none existed before a storm.
What is beach nourishment? After a storm, replenishment of sand and vegetation is typically referred to as beach nourishment and this process is both very costly and has significant impacts on marine life like sea turtles and other sea life.
Coastal Replenishment After Winds And Storm Surge
Clearly, sustained high winds and moving water are the two biggest risk factors to humans during hurricanes and tropical storms, but as most municipalities in coastal regions from Texas to North Carolina know, these two events can cause havoc on shorelines which can sometimes take years to reverse or fix.
In 2018, Hurricane Florence caused county leaders along the Crystal Coast to spend $40 million dollars to replenish natural resources only to see it all blow away the next year when Dorian struck the Carolina coast.
Of course, leaders in this area had to spend another $40 million to put it all back together again.
In 2005, Hurricane Wilma caused Boca Raton, FL city and county leaders $50 million in cleanup.
Frequency And Intensity Play Roles
Since 2010, it’s clear the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, and Caribbean are seeing an increase in both frequency and intensity of hurricanes and tropical storms which is thought to be related to global warming and climate change where the world’s oceans are becoming warmer allowing for these system to be bigger and stronger.
And, global warming is allowing these storms to venture in to areas where waters were once non-conducive to tropical formation.
If this trend continues, we could see coastal tourism areas having to re-think their beach management plans as it relates to building structures.
And, it could cause FEMA considerable headaches in securing funding to help states and counties with nourishment and replenishment efforts, not to mention the tourism losses to local economies.
PREPAREDNESS: Our Local Are Preparations Checklist
While humans have no ability to inhibit hurricane and tropical storm formation and steering, what are some mitigation efforts local counties, cities, and towns can put in place to help reduce costs associated with fixing damage from erosion?
LOCAL: Weather In Morehead City NC
Do you believe we’re close to seeing the federal government put new restrictions on homes and buildings along waterfront areas?
If you’re an elected official, or someone who deals with natural resources and conservation along the coast, how does this issue impact tourism and the environment?
What are some emerging technologies which could reduce the cost of nourishment after erosion becomes a problem and threatens the stability of surrounding land?
Using the form below, let’s talk.