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Topsail Island

Topsail Island is a narrow barrier island that is separated from the mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway and a marsh. This island is approximately 40 km long and averages approximately 280 m in width. The New River Inlet borders the island to the north and often expands to expose old peat layers beneath the inlet sands.

During summer and fall 1996, Hurricanes Bertha and Fran made landfall near Topsail Island. They scoured sand from the oceanfront, created overwash fans, and formed temporary inlets called "stormlets". These photos were taken nine months after Hurricane Fran.
What do you think the beach looked like before the hurricanes?

It is obvious from the photos that sand has been removed from the base of many of the oceanfront houses. Where do you think the sand has gone?

Click here to view some post Hurricane Fran video clips of Topsail Island.

Click on a thumbnail photo to view a full screen image.



New River Inlet New River Inlet peat New River Inlet peat stormlet




beach marsh Fran damage Fran damage




Fran damage Fran damage Fran damage Fran damage

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