Ocean City sees sand pushed up to boardwalk, as sacrificial beach and dunes protect the town
OCEAN CITY, Md. – Ocean City saw a storm surge, riptide and 40+ mph winds as the effects of Hurricane Ian hit the town Friday night. By Saturday, the boardwalk was covered in sand; coating benches, fences, and barriers for the now-canceled Ocean Callings Festival. But according to the US Army Corps of Engineers, the sand on the boardwalk is a sign that their Ocean City Coastal Storm Risk Management program is working.
“The beach in the inlet, is known as a sacrificial beach. It is meant to be eroded away and break up the inertia of the waves, and make sure the water can’t make it far inland,” said USACE Baltimore District Emergency Management Chief Dorie Murphy.
Murphy was surveying the damage in Ocean City Saturday, seeing where rip currents had eroded the beach, and if waters had reached the dunes and sea wall near 59th street. She tells us the top of the dunes was wet, indicating the tidal forces had made their way up the beach, but the dunes and extended beach still acted as a barrier and protect people, property and crucial infrastructure.
“Without this program, the waves would have come further across the island impacting the businesses, and would hit with the full force of the waves we are seeing out there today,” she said adding, “I’m looking at businesses with zero damage that did not flood, so I’m going to say this project performed as designed.”
Murphy tells 47ABC the beaches are renourished every four years, but with a nor’easter on the way, her team will be back to look at the beach and determine if needs to be restored earlier.
“Engineers from USACE and MDNR will be conducting a damage assessment of the project and they can come to rehabilitate to pre-storm conditions,” she said.
Murphy expects that assessment to be done by the end of the fall storm season.