Even offshore of Florida, Hurricane Dorian could severely damage beaches on the East Coast

WATCH: Going inside the eye of Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 storm

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The effects of Hurricane Dorian on Florida's East Coast could be devastating.

Coastal change experts with the U.S. Geological Survey have forecast that 80 percent of the sandy beaches from Florida to North Carolina will undergo beach and dune erosion from the now Category 4 storm.

Coastal change experts with the U.S. Geological Survey have forecast that 80 percent of the sandy beaches from Florida to North Carolina will undergo beach and dune erosion from the now Category 4 storm.
Coastal change experts with the U.S. Geological Survey have forecast that 80 percent of the sandy beaches from Florida to North Carolina will undergo beach and dune erosion from the now Category 4 storm. (Source: U.S. Geological Survey)

Though all of the beaches in Georgia and South Carolina are projected to face the highest rates of dune erosion, 85 percent of Florida beaches on the East Coast will experience some form of erosion from the strong waves and surge generated by Dorian, as will 60 percent of dunes in North Carolina.

Dune erosion is the first level of damage, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which says if waves and surge get high enough, overwash can occur. Oftentimes overwash is capable of transporting large amounts of sand across coastal environments and causes significant damage to the landscape.

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Right now, 22 percent of Florida dunes are said to"very likely" experience overwash. That’s not as high as the predictions for the dunes in Georgia, which stand at 59 percent, and South Carolina, which stand at 57 percent, but it also isn’t as low as North Carolina, which is at 9 percent.

Overwash is bad, but inundation is the most severe coastal impact. That occurs when beaches and dunes are completely and continuously submerged by water.

Thankfully, no beaches in Florida or North Carolina are projected to experience any inundation, but nine percent of dunes in Georgia and South Carolina are.

The predictions are so severe because storm surge in Georgia and South Carolina could reach 6-10 feet, while Florida from Jupiter to Cape Canaveral, storm surge is expected to reach 3-6 feet. Storm surge from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina south along the coast to the state line could reach 3-7 feet.

The U.S. Geological Survey says while the final projections for Hurricane Dorian will continue to change, Dorian is forecast to remain a powerful storm for several days and is likely to damage many parts of the South-Eastern Coastline.

The U.S. Geological Survey provides a real-time map of coastal change forecasts, which you can view here.

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