Other Storm Impacts - Coastal System Change at Fire Island, New York

Science Center Objects

Since the late 1990s, USGS has been conducting research to quantify the impact from other hurricanes and nor'easters on the beaches and dunes at Fire Island.

Extratropical storms, commonly called nor'easters, are powerful events that occur during the winter and early spring along the mid-Atlantic and Northeast coasts of the U.S. Prior to Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the island was impacted by the Halloween Storm of 2005 (nor'easter), the Patriot's Day storm in 2007 (nor'easter), Nor'Ida in 2009, an unnamed nor'easter in 2010 (fig. 7), and Hurricane Irene in 2011. Since Sandy, the island has been impacted by Hurricane Joaquin in 2015, Hurricane Irma in 2017, the combined energy of offshore Hurricanes Maria and Jose, and, more recently, four powerful nor'easters in one month during March 2018. 

 

 Timeline of storms that have impacted Fire Island and surveys the USGS has conducted over the past few decades.

Timeline of storms that have impacted Fire Island and surveys the USGS has conducted over the past few decades. Credit: Kat Wilson , USGS

These beach profiles show the changes resulting from the storm which caused widespread beach erosion (loss of elevation) but lit

Nor'Ida was a nor'easter that formed from the remnants of Hurricane Ida during November 2009. These beach profiles show the changes resulting from the storm which caused widespread beach erosion (loss of elevation) but little changes to the dunes. Hurricane Irene made landfall several times along the Atlantic coast of the U.S. in August 2011. By the time the storm was close to Fire Island, it had weakened significantly, but it still resulted in beach erosion, particularly along the lower beach. Credit: Noreen Buster, USGS