Sound-side inundation and seaward erosion of a barrier island during hurricane landfall

JGR - Earth Surface
By: , and 



Barrier islands are especially vulnerable to hurricanes and other large storms, owing to their mobile composition, low elevations, and detachment from the mainland. Conceptual models of barrier-island evolution emphasize ocean-side processes that drive landward migration through overwash, inlet migration, and aeolian transport. In contrast, we found that the impact of Hurricane Dorian (2019) on North Core Banks, a 36-km barrier island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, was primarily driven by inundation of the island from Pamlico Sound, as evidenced by storm-surge model results and observations of high-water marks and wrack lines. Analysis of photogrammetry products from aerial imagery collected before and after the storm indicate the loss of about 18% of the subaerial volume of the island through the formation of over 80 erosional washout channels extending from the marsh and washover platform, through gaps in the foredunes, to the shoreline. The washout channels were largely co-located with washover fans deposited by earlier events. Net seaward export of sediment resulted in the formation of deltaic bars offshore of the channels, which became part of the post-storm berm recovery by onshore bar migration and partial filling of the washouts with washover deposits within 2 months. This event represents a volumetric setback in the overwash/rollover behavior required for barrier transgression, but the new ponds and lowland habitats may provide beneficial habit for endangered species and will likely persist for years.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Sound-side inundation and seaward erosion of a barrier island during hurricane landfall
Series title JGR - Earth Surface
DOI 10.1029/2022JF006934
Volume 128
Issue 1
Year Published 2023
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, Southwest Biological Science Center, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description e2022JF006934, 32 p.
Country United States
State North Carolina
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