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St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center > Coastal Change Hazards: Hurricanes and Extreme Storms > Hurricane Rita

Coastal Change Hazards: Hurricanes and Extreme Storms

Cameron Parish

Hurricane Rita

Before and After Photo Comparisons: Cameron Parish, LA

The beaches of Cameron Parish, Louisiana were located just east of the point of landfall for Hurricane Rita, in the right-front quadrant where winds and surge were a maximum. Some small towns in this zone no longer have any structures remaining. The combination of low elevations and a storm surge approaching 6 m (20 ft) that swept across the coast, resulted in bare concrete slabs and less-than-vertical pilings where buildings had been located. The photo pairs below show the complete destruction of homes and businesses in the vicinity of the towns of Holly Beach and Peveto Beach. From a geological perspective, all the images show erosion along the beach and overwash deposits farther inland, with extensive coastal flooding still remaining. An image from undeveloped Hackberry Beach, east of the town of Cameron, shows a similar overwash and flooding response. The top image in each pair was acquired on June 16, 2001 and the bottom image of each pair was acquired on September 28, 2005, within 4 days of Hurricane Rita's landfall. In all photographs the Gulf of Mexico is located at the bottom of the image. These images were acquired as part of a cooperative research program between USGS and the University of New Orleans.

index map showing locations of pre-and post-storm photo sets
Index map showing locations of pre-and post-storm photo sets. Scroll down or click on the location numbers on the photo above to view the pre- and post-storm photo sets.

pre- and post-Rita photos of Hackberry Beach
Location 1, Hackberry Beach: The response to Hurricane Rita at this undeveloped location mirrors that seen in Holly Beach and Peveto Beach. Sand has been carried from the beach at least as far as the backing marsh where standing water precludes our observation of deposition. Note the extensive flooding in the marshes landward of the canal. [larger version]

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pre- and post-Rita photos of Holly Beach
Location 2, Holly Beach: In the lower photograph, note the sand deposit emerging from the flood waters in a mid-island location half way between the arrows, as well as landward of the main highway along the far-left side. [larger version]

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pre- and post-Rita photos of Holly Beach
Location 3, Holly Beach: Extensive flooding is partially obscuring the extensive overwash that appears to extend from the developed Gulf-side of the island, across the vegetation, and beyond the first two roads. Evidence of flow-induced scour under and around structures is present in the post-Rita photograph. [larger version]

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pre- and post-Rita photos of Peveto Beach
Location 4, Peveto Beach: Overwash of beach sand is apparent along and near the shore-parallel road surfaces. [larger version]

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pre- and post-Rita photos of Peveto Beach
Location 5, Peveto Beach: Notice in this photo pair that the rip-rap shore protection did little to protect the structures behind in the face of an overwhelming surge. [larger version]

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Location 5Location 4Location 3Location 2Location 1

Related links:

Parish Savaged by Audrey Now Feels Rita's Wrath
Washington Post

St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center > Coastal Change Hazards: Hurricanes and Extreme Storms > Hurricane Rita

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