Magnitude of Subaerial Beach Disturbance During Northeast Storms


  • Joseph E. Fucella
  • Robert Dolan


Shore processes, waves, storm magnitude, beach erosion, shore profile


Analysis of simultaneous measurements of inshore processes and changes in beach profiles over a nine-month period on the Outer Banks of North Carolina shows 8 relationship between storm magnitude and the vertical and horizontal erosion of a subaerial beach. The maximum cut during any tidal cycle was 70 cm, which occurred in the middle of the profile. The majority of the erosion occurring during the first 6 hours of the storms and approximately 50 percent of the sand lost during the storms was recovered within the first 12 hours following the storms. Wave height and steepness and the pre-storm beach configuration determined the extent of the vertical erosion. There is a downward limit to vertical erosion, and once this level is reached the maximum changes become horizontal.