A survey of storm-induced seaward-transport features observed during the 2019 and 2020 hurricane seasons

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: http://doi.org/10.34237/1008924. This is version 1 of this Preprint.


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Jin-Si Rose Over, Jenna Brown , Chris Sherwood , Christie Hegermiller , Phillipe Wernette , Andy Ritchie , Jonathan Warrick 


Hurricanes are known to play a critical role in reshaping coastlines, particularly on the open ocean coast in cases of overwash, but storm induced seaward-directed flow and responses are often ignored or un-documented. Subaerial evidence for seaward sediment transport (outwash, return-flow) increases our understanding of the impact hurricanes have on coastal and barrier island evolution. Towards this goal we catalog all available National Geodetic Survey Emergency Response Imagery (ERI), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) collection of post-hurricane aerial imagery on the U.S East Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts, for visible washout and return flow features. The most recent examples are from the North Core Banks, North Carolina, after Hurricane Dorian (2019), the Carolina coasts after Hurricane Isaias (2020), the Isles Dernieres, Louisiana, after Hurricane Zeta (2020), and the southwest coast of Louisiana, after Hurricanes Laura and Delta (2020); these include erosive scours and channels but also depositional deltas and fans on the shoreface and nearshore. Over the nearly 200 km of coastline analyzed, hundreds of seaward-flow features were identified; the density exceeds 20 per km in some areas. Individual features measure between 5 m and 500 m in both the along- and cross-shore dimensions. The extensive occurrence of these storm-induced return-flow and outwash morphologic features demonstrates that their sediment transport role may be more influential than previously thought. Based on these observations, we advocate for their inclusion in coastal change hazards classification schemes and coastal evolution morphodynamic models and propose an adoption of direction-explicit terms to use when describing return- and seaward-flow features to reduce redundant jargon and distinguish them from more frequently documented landward-flow features.




Earth Sciences, Geomorphology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


remote sensing, overwash, barrier islands, aerial imagery, hurricanes, outwash, East Coast, Gulf Coast


Published: 2021-09-24 23:15

Last Updated: 2021-09-25 03:15


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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