Sadly, many of the homes and businesses in the area sustained significant damage or were destroyed by Sandy. Assessment of the full extent of the damage is underway. Today's focus is specifically on the storm's impact on the beach that draws people and businesses to the area.
This is one of my favorite views of the beach. This is a before photo showing sand fences and the dunes on the left...
|An Eastward View Taken December 2010|
And here is the same spot after Sandy where the dunes have been replaced by large rocks and rubble...
|After Sandy, November, 2012|
Sand dunes line the beaches in southern Rhode Island, gently sloping upwards for six to ten feet as you can see in this before picture.
|Before Picture Showing the Dunes and Piping Plover Nesting Area|
After Sandy, many of those dunes are gone and there is no longer a protective barrier between the water and the land.
|After Sandy the Dunes are Gone|
Those dunes served to protect the land and homes beyond the shore and provided habitat for for shoreline wildlife, like the endangered osprey...
|Before Sandy This Nest was High Amongst the Dunes|
After Sandy this same nest is standing on the flattened beach.
|After Sandy-No Dunes|
|Before Sandy Dunes and Sand Fences Separated the Beach and a Pond|
The ocean has destroyed the dunes and breached the beach to connect to a pond. You can see that work is already underway to restore the balance.
|After Sandy the Ocean has Connected to the Pond|
What does all this mean about the health of the shoreline? I'm not an expert on the shoreline habitat, so I can't provide answers. Another large storm is predicted in the next 24-48 hours with wind gust expected to be in the 50-60 mph range. Will more damage follow? Only time will tell.
Click this link for an aerial view of the Sandy impacts along the Rhode Island shoreline.
Click this link for more pictures of Sandy damage.
Some links to information about beaches and dunes: