Carolina Environmental Diversity Explorations
Hurricanes on sandy shorelines · By Dirk Frankenberg
Dune erosion on Oak Island (1)
Shoreface construction on southeastern barrier islands rarely fares well when hurricanes make landfall over them. Figure 8 shows how this generalization played out on Oak Island during Hurricane Floyd. The houses were behind a small primary dune before the hurricanes. That dune was flattened and its sand was moved both landward and seaward. The sand that moved landward formed overwash fans that we will see later. The sand that moved seaward formed offshore sand bars that have already begun to contribute sand to the beach. The natural process of offshore sand being added to coastline beaches is called beach accretion. We will soon see evidence of its having happened on Oak Island.