Hurricane Ivan: Storm Impacts to Beach Nourishment Projects – Gulf Shores, AL to Pensacola Beach, FL

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by A. E. Browder, P.E., Ph.D., (A.M.ASCE), Senior Coastal Engineer; Olsen Associates, Inc., 4438 Herschel St., Jacksonville, FL, 32210;,,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Solutions to Coastal Disasters 2005:

Abstract: This paper details the impacts of Hurricane Ivan upon three monitored beach restoration projects constructed along the NE Gulf of Mexico shoreline. Ivan made landfall in the early morning hours of 16 September 2004 in the region just west of the city limits of Gulf Shores in Baldwin County, AL. The storm impacted the area as a Category 3 to Category 4 hurricane, producing record wind speeds, storm surges, and financial losses in both Baldwin County, AL, and Escambia County, FL. The storm directly impacted the 2001 Gulf Shores, AL, and 2003 Pensacola Beach, FL, Beach Restoration Projects as well as the 2003 West Beach Gulf Shores Emergency Beach Fill Project. These beach nourishment projects are monitored via annual beach profile surveys and rectified digital photography. The dramatic impacts of the hurricane to these beaches were documented using pre-storm data from February/May 2004 and post-storm data collected within two weeks of storm landfall. Data from the monitoring program allowed the communities to properly and quickly document sand losses in order to plan and pursue funding for restoration of the beaches. Post-storm surveys revealed typical volumetric losses of 75 to 175 m3/m from the beach fill construction berms. The shoreline receded as much as 16 m (average), while the upper elevations of the beaches experienced retreat of as much as 60 m. The storm left the beach profile in a very planar condition, exhibiting post-storm slopes of between 1:30 and 1:40 V. H. (typical). A portion of the sand eroded from the beach fill berms was deposited in significant overwash fans extending over 100 m landward in many areas. Similar volumes were deposited offshore.

Subject Headings: Storms | Beach nourishment | Hurricanes and typhoons | Gulfs | Coastal management | Shores | Beaches | Storm surges | Ecological restoration | North America | United States | Florida | Nebraska | Gulf of Mexico

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