Reprinted with permission from Dr. Charles Flagg of the Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. Follow more of Dr. Flagg’s research on the Old Inlet Breach here.
Dr. Charles Flagg took another flight over the Breach at Old Inlet on Fire Island on November 17, 2018. The flyover mosaic is available below. Dr. Flagg provided the following report:
Another overflight took place Saturday the 17th. There have been several wind events since the last overflight in October, including the storm last Thursday during which there were wind gusts of 40 kts out of the northeast accompanied by tides ~0.5 m above normal. So it was interesting to see what might have changed in the breach as a result. Below are two photo mosaics of the breach area, one from October 19th and the recent one from Saturday. Sediment that had been stirred up by last Thursday’s storm had not settled out by Saturday so we cannot see all the details but it is clear that there have been significant changes in the channel leading through the flood delta as well as to the western shoreline.
The most significant change is that the rather serpentine channel that passed north of the remains of Pelican Island has been both straightened out and widened. So, although not well resolved in the image, it would appear that the connection between the ocean and Bay has opened up and perhaps has delayed the breach closure which seemed imminent last month. Salinity at the Bellport dock showed a brief period of ~30 psu water but since has settled to ~28 psu, which is higher than earlier but with all the recent rainfall we will need to wait to see how things settle out. The other item of note is that the western spit, which had undergone several periods of growth and erosion in the past, has entered a growth phase and has pushed north by some 100 meters since last month.
So the saga of the breach looks to continue for a while longer.