Hurricane Harvey

Science

USGS documents and forecasts coastal change in real-time. Hurricanes generate dangerous waves and high water levels capable of moving large amounts of sand, destroying buildings and infrastructure, and even taking lives. Through processes like dune erosion, overwash and inundation, storms reshape our nation's coastline.

Emergency Managers

Dune Erosion

Dune Erosion

Dune erosion occurs when storm surge elevates waves higher on the beach, allowing them to attack and erode the coastal dune. Dune erosion makes properties behind the dune more vulnerable to future storms and the potential for overwash.

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Overwash

Overwash

When storm-induced waves exceed the height of the dune, sand is transported over top of the dune and deposited inland. This process, known as overwash, causes a significant change in the landscape of the island.

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Inundation

Inundation

Inundation occurs when the beach system seaward dune and the shoreline is completely submerged under the rising storm surge. Smaller breaches often fill with sand in the months following the storm, while larger breaches may become permanent inlets.

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