Ocean City Today

LAND HO! New beach shows storms can build up land as well

By Brian Gilliland | Mar 22, 2018
Photo by: Brian Gilliland A small beach emerged near the southeastern corner of the Ocean City Inlet Parking Lot last week, which officials called the product of several nor’easters striking the coast in the past few weeks. Although not expected to last long, the beach may get a boost from another large storm expected to hit the coast this week.

(March 23, 2018) About 110 years after he died, Mark Twain, who famously said “buy land, they’re not making it anymore,” was proven wrong by the Ocean City inlet.

Late last week a small stretch of beach emerged on the resort side of the inlet jetty, in a rare but not unprecedented event.

Merely a curiosity, the beach is about 20 feet wide at its most broad point and extends 100 yards or so from the jetty, close to the southeast corner of the inlet parking lot. This week, visitors and residents clambered over the sea wall rocks to walk along, or take photographs of the small beach.

“I’m not sure we have an official answer, but my understanding from speaking to our coastal folks is that, put simply, it’s likely a result of the powerful nor’easters and their extreme winds,” Chris Gardner, of the Army Corps of Engineers’ communications office, said.

The ongoing shoaling of sand at the inlet making travel into and out of the state’s only ocean-facing harbor for commercial fishing boats, plus the ongoing remediation efforts for that shoaling as well as the beach replenishment operations conducted earlier this year are apparently not to blame.

“So, essentially the normal sediment transport is for sand to gradually move south and likely what’s happened is with the recent powerful nor’easters that normal transport was amplified by the storms, and you had sand wrapping around the northern jetty and some sand possibly also being blown/washed right over the jetty as well,” he said.

Gardner said the beach was likely to disappear after a few days, though another nor’easter may delay, or could possibly accelerate, that process.

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