Georgia

Hurricane Irma created a whole new island off the Georgia coast

A drone photo shows the new Little Blackbeard Island off the Georgia coast.
A drone photo shows the new Little Blackbeard Island off the Georgia coast.

The lashing wind and rain from Hurricane Irma was powerful enough to whip up an entirely new island off the coast of Georgia called “Little Blackbeard,” according to researchers from the Center for Geospatial Research at the University of Georgia.

The island was created after the storm washed out a small bit of land that reached from Blackbeard Island south toward Sapelo Island, reported the Athens Banner-Herald.

It’s small, only about 100 acres compared to the larger Blackbeard Island’s 5,600 acres. Nearby Sapelo Island is 16,500 acres, Sapelo Island manager for the Georgia Department of National Resources Fred Hay told the Athens Banner-Herald.

“The areas are very dynamic because it’s sandy,” Center for Geospatial Research director Marguerite Madden told Fox 13. “It’s not unusual. Storms can cause dramatic changes in a short amount of time.”

Currents along the barrier islands constantly shape the beaches and islands along the shore. When heavy storms like Hurricane Irma strike the coast, the normal process can go into overdrive, creating dramatic changes- like the creation of a new island, for instance.

There are a few things that could happen now. The island could keep moving south as erosion chips away at Little Blackbeard’s north end, at which point it could hook up with Sapelo Island. Or it could disappear, washed away under the waves, reported Fox 13.

Hurricane Irma struck the Southeast in early September, forcing thousands to evacuate their coastal homes and cutting power to more than a million Georgians. It was such a powerful storm it was registering on earthquake-detection equipment.

In Columbus, school systems closed, governments and most businesses shut down, and citizens were told to stay off the roads as emergency crews, working overtime, waited for the dangerous weather to let up. Three deaths were linked to the storm in Georgia, with more killed in Florida and dozens killed in the Caribbean.

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