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Water-Related News

Tropical Storm Colin displaces Longboat Key sand

Although dry beaches on Longboat Key lost about 20 feet of sand on average due to Tropical Storm Colin, town officials say there’s still plenty of sand in the coastal system.

Last Wednesday [June 15th], Town Manager Dave Bullock was scouting the damage to beaches following the storm near the North Shore Road beach access, and he noticed something peculiar.

A man was fishing about 80 feet from the shore, from a newly formed sandbar, and dozens of beachgoers were wading through a freshly carved channel near two groins built last year.

Bullock said the scene showed that while Tropical Storm Colin may have washed away

chunks of dry beach along the island’s shorelines, the sand is still in the overall shore system. In fact, after Tropical Storm Debby in 2012, a similar sand shift occurred, and in several months, the shoal had drifted back to the mainland.

“Storms take away beach, there’s no question about that,” Bullock said. “But you always want to be a little patient after a storm and give nature time to redistribute the sand.”

Tropical Storm Colin traveled through the Gulf of Mexico June 6, creating at least 4 feet of storm surge that flooded dozens of streets in Longbeach Village and on the north end. With the town in the midst of the $10 million mid-Key truck haul, the rough surf churned up the newly placed sand.

“This was a light storm,” Bullock said. “We had pretty heavy wave action, and it was kinda fun looking at it, but it wasn’t Category 3 winds and 7-foot storm surge and all of that.”

Public Works Director Juan Florensa trudged along the same beach Friday, informally surveying the loss of sand.

“You can’t throw a frisbee there, you can’t play with your kids there, and you can’t play volleyball there,” Florensa said, motioning toward the new sandbar. “And you certainly can’t lay a towel there.”