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The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Strong Winds Force Storm Surge, January 17, 2022

Posted by | January 18, 2022 | Filed under: Observations

Access to Laudholm Beach will be interrupted for a couple of days, as Monday's storm surge took away about 4 feet of dune and 8 feet of boardwalk. Our facilities staff and volunteers are working quickly to restore safe access to the beach, while also minimizing impacts to the adjacent vegetated dune. 

Wells experienced sustained winds over 30 mph for a few hours on Monday. Fortunately, winds had diminished somewhat as they shifted to the northeast, because even the lesser strong-and-steady push forced seawater well inland. Early observers reported finding wrack in areas that typically don't see deposits even during king tides. 

Show Me the Data

Here is the Monday storm in graphical form. We measured wind gusts up to 40 mph both at the "Laudholm Farm" weather station and at the Wells Harbor station just before noon. The predicted tide was 9.26 feet and actual tidal height (provisional) was 12.8 feet. 

Graph showing maximum wind gusts over 2+ days.

Maximum wind gusts exceeded 30 mph over a few hours on Monday. This chart is based on measurements taken at the Wells Reserve's "Laudholm Farm" weather station, part of the System-wide Monitoring Program.
Graph showing maximum wind gusts at the Wells Harbor weather station over 2+ days.
The CO-OPS weather station at Wells Reserve, also maintained by the Wells Reserve, showed a similar pattern in peak intensity. The graph also displays sustained winds and their direction.
Graph showing predicted and provisional tide height during the height of the January 17 storm.
The CO-OPS tide gauge at Wells Harbor measured storm surge of about 3 feet. Notice how the greatest anomaly appears after strong winds shifted to the northeast.

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