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Fact Sheet 2010–3012

Impacts and Predictions of Coastal Change during Hurricanes

By Hilary Stockdon and Abby Sallenger

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Beaches serve as a natural barrier between the ocean and inland communities, ecosystems, and resources. These dynamic environments move and change in response to winds, waves, and currents. During a powerful hurricane, changes to beaches can be large, and the results are sometimes catastrophic. Lives are lost, communities are destroyed, and millions of dollars are spent on rebuilding. There is a clear need to identify areas of our coastline that are likely to experience extreme and devastating erosion during a hurricane. It is also important to determine risk levels associated with development in areas where the land shifts and moves with each landfalling storm. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) provides scientific support for hurricane planning and response. Using observations of beach changes and models of waves and storm surge, we are predicting how the coast will respond to hurricanes and identifying areas vulnerable to extreme coastal changes.

First posted July 14, 2010

For additional information contact:
Hilary Stockdon
U.S. Geological Survey
St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center
600 4th Street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

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Suggested citation:

Stockdon, Hilary, and Sallenger, Abby, 2010, Impacts and predictions of coastal change during hurricanes: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2010–3012, 2 p.

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