EMERALD ISLE — The Carteret County Shore Protection Office will begin taking photos of the beach along Bogue Bank Tuesday, as it does before all storms that are expected to potentially have significant impacts on the strand.
In addition, “We have sent out an advance notice to our surveyor/engineers concerning a post-storm survey of Bogue Banks as stipulated in our monitoring contract,” Greg Rudolph, manager of the shore protection office, said in an email Monday.
That survey includes 122 beach “profiles” from the eastern tip of Atlantic Beach at Beaufort Inlet to the western tip of Emerald Isle at Bogue Inlet, a distance of more than 25 miles.
The survey, however, will take place only if Mr. Rudolph believes it’s worthwhile, due to cost.
“We will have to make a judgement call once Dorian passes…” he said in the email. “Our usual protocol is if we don’t believe the county will receive (Federal Emergency Management Agency money for sand lost during the storm), then we won’t survey and vice-versa.”
Florence robbed Bogue Banks of millions of cubic yards of sand, and Emerald Isle alone is seeking more than $40 million in FEMA reimbursement money for the cost of replacing that sand.
Mr. Rudolph explained that so far, the ocean is acting as it normally does as a hurricane approaches, generating “long-period waves (longer distance from crest to crest), (that) cause the water to run up on the beach well ahead of any hurricane.”
“Like clockwork, this started occurring late Saturday,” he said.
The period between the waves jumped from about 6 seconds to more than 10 seconds that day.
Mr. Rudolph said the forecast track for Dorian is very similar to the track of Hurricane Matthew along the Carolina coast in 2016.
In Matthew, he said, “sand was transported up the beach profile from depth and we actually ‘gained’ sand.”
So, if Dorian is similar, might that good fortune re-occur?
“There is zero guarantee that will happen again during Dorian this week, but it is useful to compare the tracks and intensity of Matthew and" the forecasted track of Dorian in more detail to glean whatever information we can, he wrote.
What that look shows, he said, is that the forward speed is generally the same for both storms; and that Matthew was a Category 1 storm transitioning to a tropical storm, while Dorian is forecast to be a Category 2 storm.
“Assuming Dorian’s forecasted track holds true,” Mr. Rudolph wrote, “Matthew’s proximity to the coast will have been closer than Dorian’s.”
Obviously, Mr. Rudolph said, the final track, not the forecast path, of Dorian will be crucial in terms of beach erosion.
He added that that the north-facing area of the Carteret County peninsula (Down East) is at most risk for erosion, possibly even more so than during Matthew and comparable to Florence.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.