Hurricane Season Ends Leaving Beach Erosion Behind

By  //  November 30, 2012

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Four Storms Cause Damage In 2012

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Hurricane season officially comes to an end today, but not without leaving its mark along Brevard County’s beaches.

Heavy surf from Hurricane Sandy in October produced significant beach erosion and damage along the shoreline in Indlalantic. (Image by Ed Pierce)

Historical tracking maps from the National Hurricane Center in Miami indicate the state had four brushes with tropical cyclone events this hurricane season. One of those events, Hurricane Sandy, led to a local state of emergency declaration in Brevard County after causing an estimated $25 million in beach erosion along the county’s 72 miles of coastline.

Major storms

According to the National Weather Service’s North Atlantic Hurricane Tracking Chart:

• In May, Tropical Storm Beryl made landfall near Jacksonville, but posed no threat to Brevard County.

• In June, Tropical Storm Debby entered the state near the Big Bend area and exited near Jacksonville, but had little impact on the Space Coast.

• In August, Tropical Storm Isaac impacted the Keys and South Florida before making landfall in Louisiana.

• In October, Hurricane Sandy sideswiped the East Coast of Florida causing widespread beach erosion before making landfall in the northeastern United States.

In all, there were 19 named storm events, according to the National Hurricane Center. The impact on Brevard came primarily from Hurricane Sandy, which stayed 200 miles offshore but generated winds and waves that resulted in beach erosion from north to south.

Kimberly Prosser is Brevard County’s Emergency Management Director. (Image by Ed Pierce)

Far-reaching impact

“People can mistakenly think that if a tropical storm or hurricane doesn’t make landfall in their city or county, they have nothing to worry about,” said Emergency Management Director Kimberly Prosser. “But that’s just not the case. Storms can be hundreds of miles wide, and the effects can be far-reaching.”

About 18 cubic yards of shoreline were lost along 14 miles of North Reach nourishment projects in the Cape Canaveral/Cocoa Beach area and South Reach projects in the Indialantic/Melbourne Beach area, with an estimated replacement cost of $15 million.

In addition, along the 18 miles of Mid Reach shoreline in the Satellite Beach, Indian Harbour Beach and South Beaches area, where Brevard County has constructed and maintained an engineered dune/beach project for the last 8 years, losses averaged roughly 3-4 cubic yards per foot of shoreline.

Rebuilding the engineered beach/dune in these areas will cost roughly $10.5 million.

Erosion from Sandy extended into Indian River, Martin, St Lucie, Palm Beach, and Broward counties, leading to a request from Gov. Rick Scott for a major disaster declaration from FEMA. This week FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate denied the State of Florida’s request. It is unknown yet whether the governor plans to appeal the decision.

So far, states who have received major disaster declarations for Hurricane Sandy include New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and New Hampshire.

Though hurricane season is over, history has shown hurricanes have occurred in December and later. As always, Brevard County Emergency Management encourages residents to be prepared.

That includes preparing a kit with ample water, food, flashlights, batteries and other essential items for pets and children; to stay informed; and to develop an emergency plan for how and where you will evacuate if instructed by your emergency management officials.

“Yes, hurricane season is ending, but that’s no reason to avoid being prepared,” said Prosser. “Wildfire season is just around the corner.”

Brevard County Emergency Management provides information and updates throughout the year on its Facebook page (www.facebook.com/BrevardEOC), via its Twitter feed (@BrevardEOC), and through text message (Text FOLLOW BREVARDEOC to 40404).


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