Dunes could erode more during weekend nor'easter

The dunes eroded several feet during Hurricane Irma (PHOTO: First Coast News)
↓ Advertisement ↓

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- The dunes along Duval County’s beaches, already battered by Hurricane Irma, could erode more during the upcoming nor’easter.

“Erosion is cumulative,” Professor Don Resio, director of UNF’s Taylor Engineering Research Institute, explained, noting damage from the weekend storm could chip away at what Irma left behind. When asked how he felt about the protection the beach and dunes in current form provide, Resio responded, “iffy.”

Resio pointed out the dunes post-Irma are uneven in height, and it only takes one weak spot to allow damage or even a breach.

“We’re gonna get more erosion this weekend,” Resio said. “How much more? Hard to say.”

↓ Advertisement ↓

Hard to say because it depends on so many variables; How strong will the storm be? How long will it last? Will it coincide with high tide?

“The longer the storm lasts the higher the probability is that you are going to actually coincide with the peak tide,” Resio said.

That would be the worst-case scenario. In that event, Resio predicted the dunes could erode an additional 3-4 feet. However, he cautioned there are some many variables at work it’s impossible to predict the exact impact. For example, if the storm peaks during low tide, there may be no visible erosion.