University of Delaware
delware environmental institute

News Journal: Broadkill Beach shoreline impacted by storm

From the air, the Atlantic Ocean looked "like chocolate milk" on Wednesday, three days after a storm pounded the region's coastline, said Art Trembanis, an associate professor at the University of Delaware College of Earth Ocean and Environment. At Broadkill Beach, the weather system erased some of the beachfront created as part of a $69 million project to pump Delaware River sand onto the shoreline.

Trembanis flew the Delaware, Maryland and Virginia coast to get a bird's-eye view of storm damage. Water rushed out Indian River and Ocean City inlets and all of the rivers along the Delaware Bay as the marshes continued to drain. The breaches at Fowler Beach looked deeper and bigger in an image he captured with a GoPro camera mounted to the airplane. White water flowed out to Delaware Bay and there was so much sediment it even made the ocean look brown.

Delaware and the region were hit by a lingering coastal storm and heavy rain last week through Sunday. The storm brought high winds and flooding to coastal areas and communities along the inland bays. Hurricane Joaquin, initially forecast to track up the Atlantic just off Bethany Beach, instead moved far off shore. But the waves from the hurricane continued the pound the coast on Monday.

The same two weather systems that brought our coastal storm — a cold front stalled off the coast and a low pressure system to the south — fueled the extreme rainfall event in South Carolina. For the MidAtlantic, the storm, instead brought prolonged winds, repeated above normal high tides and flooding along the inland bays.