Saturday, October 22, 2016

What Hurricane Matthew Took From Cocoa Beach, FL

Last week, Hurricane Matthew came very close to the eastern coast of Florida and the main feeling we had was that it could have been much worse. However, upon close personal inspection of the beach from Canaveral to the middle of Cocoa Beach, I found that the water is now running up into the sand dunes in many places, and the wind and wave action is not finished with the business of eroding the beach. This was not the hardest hit part of the coast, but it was enough to make changes that will be quite expensive to repair, if that is what the government decides to do. They are still experiencing extreme high and low tides and in the northern locations, there seems to be nothing left at high tide at all.
I discovered this Tuesday, 10/19,  making my first extreme hike as preparation for a journey on the Appalachian Trail. I did a 12 mile walk in my new hiking shoes and found that it truly ended up being more like hiking, as I was going up and down in the dunes instead of a smooth walk on a beach. The lesson learned was to always bring water and a snack. My plan called for a stop at Jetty Park in Cape Canaveral, but upon arrival, I found that the park store and the Jetty pier were closed.

Overall, the beach didn't seem doomed except for one thing: It isn't over. Since the previous week the wind had been coming from the east at over 15mph with accompanying large waves. It also appeared that there was no end in sight. The wind was coming from another storm system and all of this was adding up to continued erosion of sand from the coastline. The sand dunes did their job of protecting the buildings right on the beach, but you could easily see how one or two more hurricanes in the near future could finish the job that Matthew started...

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