Sunday, August 24, 2008

TS Fay on St. Simons Island

Well, what was left of Fay blew into New Orleans all day. A light rain fell for most of the day under a dull, gray sky. I was reminded far more of north Georgia in November than I was of New Orleans in August.

Things were a little more exciting for my family on St. Simons Island back in Georgia. They didn't get the kind of rain and flooding Florida saw, but the winds pushed the sea higher than they're used to on Island City.

All photographs are courtesy of Wendy Armstrong (my mom). You can also view the map I created using Google to demonstrate where the pictures were taken.

These pics above are of 5th Street. St. Simons Elementary School is about a half block away. When I was growing up, we'd come to 5th Street to boogie board, and the only time you saw water this high was when a very powerful storm was in the Atlantic. Hugo did this, too. Erosion is a huge problem here, and you can see the concrete barricades they've had to put up to protect the street and the expensive oceanfront condos. The rocks only used to be a few feet above the street. They've added somewhat, as you can see. Shortly before or after this, waves of 8 feet were being reported.

At low tide, the Pier is at least ten feet above the water.

At Gould's Inlet, this boardwalk was constructed several feet above normal high tide. But since I went away to college, storms have torn it up again and again as the waves rock its pilings and rip out its sides. I was standing on it during a Nor'easter once, and when the waves came through it would pop the decking up and suck loose boards out from under it.

This is the highest I have ever seen the water from this vantage point. During the Spring tides, and big storms, the central marshes of the island would fill up, to be sure, but you could usually see the marsh grass above the water. I have never seen wave caps like this. When my mom was taking these pictures, my dad gave me an excited call. He had never seen anything like this either. He has lived on St. Simons Island since 1983. If you've ever wanted evidence of how important wetlands are for storm protection, here you go.

Here's local paper's take on the event.

Ben at Island Profiling also has some pictures and descriptions up.


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