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St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center

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

Coastal Change Hazards: Hurricanes and Extreme Storms

Collier County

Hurricane Wilma

Before and After Photo Comparisons: Collier County, FL

The majority of sandy beaches of Collier County, FL were located just north of the point of landfall for Hurricane Wilma, in the left-front quadrant where winds, while strong, were offshore, lessening the magnitude of the storm surge and waves. The photo pairs below show little to no evidence of measurable erosion. The top image in each pair was acquired on September 29, 1999 and the bottom image of each pair was acquired on October 25, 2005, within 36 hours of Hurricane Wilma's landfall. In all photographs the Gulf of Mexico is located at the bottom of the image.

Because of the lack of erosion on the sandy beaches of Collier County, we have chosen not to conduct lidar surveys on this section of coast in response to Hurricane Wilma.

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. The observed track of the center of Hurricane Wilma is indicated by the red arrow.

Photo of Location 1, Cape Romano
Location 1, Cape Romano: This undeveloped shoreline near the end of Cape Romano marks the southern extent of west-Florida's sandy beaches. This location, just south of Wilma's track line (and thus in the more dangerous right-front quadrant but still north of the eyewall), shows little change in the beach, though there is some indication of recent scarping along the shoreline and of sand pushed landward just into the vegetation. [larger version]

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Photo of Location 2, Marco Island
Location 2, Marco Island: This developed beach on Marco Island shows very little change over the time period. While we do not know if beach nourishment has occurred, this location still boasts a wide beach, with Tiki bars seemingly intact. This location is north of the track, in the left-front quadrant of off-shore winds. [larger version]

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Photo of Location 3, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Location 3, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve: This area of undeveloped coastline, located between Naples and Marco Island, again shows no indication of erosion resulting from Hurricane Wilma. In fact, there are strong qualitative indications of stability on this beach in the six years between photographs. [larger version]
Location 1Location 3Location 2

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Related links:

Collier County, Fla., Bears Brunt of Wilma
NPR

Monitoring Hurricane Wilma's Storm Surge
Sound Waves Article

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

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