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Delaware beaches intact after Monday's heavy rain and wind

Katie Peikes
Delaware Public Media
Bethany Beach on Tuesday, Jan. 24


Monday’s storm brought a lot of wind, rain and some road closures, but Delaware’s beaches remained intact.


State shoreline and waterway administrator Tony Pratt was in Sussex County all day Monday through high tide Monday night, and he said he noticed little to no beach erosion.

“We had certainly a lot of water across the beach up into the base of the dune,” Pratt said. “I saw the south end of South Bethany - a couple of waves trickled over the top without causing any erosion. They flowed up and over the top of the dune into the backside not causing any problems.”

When the weather calms down, Pratt said he expects there will be less beach between the dune and the water, but the missing sand will have been deposited in sand bars just offshore and will begin to work its way back onto the beach. This is a common, annual cycle, he said.

Monday’s storm was not anything unusual, Pratt said. With winds between 30 to 40 miles per hour, Pratt said these kinds of storms happen anywhere from two to four times a year. No beach took a bigger hit than others.

“There was the same amount of erosion in the front of the beach, but where there is nothing there except for two or three dune lines, it’s hardly notable,” Pratt said. “So I would say that the impacts were the same everywhere.”


Some areas may have appeared more threatened, especially places like Bethany and South Bethany Beach that have not had their beaches replenished recently. Ocean View residents Charlie Williamson and Joe Gabriel were out watching the waves on Tuesday afternoon and they both were amazed by how high the tide was.


"The waves are a lot closer to the dunes than I was hoping," Gabriel said. "The last few Nor'easters, we lost about two-thirds of our dunes and it did breach in a few areas."


Last month, more sand was dumped on both Rehoboth and Dewey beaches. Pratt said these sand infusions helped to build the dunes and beaches back up, helping them withstand the effects of the storm.

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