Coastal Turbidity from Hurricane Irene

The intense wind and wave action kicked up by Hurricane Irene left its mark along the eastern seaboard. Sand and sediment eroded from the beaches and stirred up from the seafloor created a broad belt of turbid ocean water that appears a gorgeous shade of turquoise in this MODIS / Terra satellite image shot yesterday afternoon:

Detail from MODIS/Terra satellite image taken August 28, 2011, showing the Carolina coast. Cape Hatteras is near top center. Turbid coastal waters laden with sand are bright turquoise.

Zooming in to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, we can see some brownish plumes in the water that are probably sediment runoff from the coastal rivers that were deluged with rainfall from this storm:

Detail from August 28, 2011 MODIS satellite image showing tubidity in Pamlico Sound, Albemarle Sound, and offshore along the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Pale blue – turquoise colors offshore indicate water carrying suspended sand; brownish areas in Sound, and plumes issuing into the ocean through inlet channels in the barrier islands, indicate water carrying sediment and other onshore runoff.

Hopefully we’re not seeing a repeat of the widespread failure of hog-waste impoundments in this area that followed Hurricane Floyd back in 1999:

Detail from Landsat-7 ETM satellite image of North Carolina’s Outer Banks taken September 23, 1999 in the wake of Hurricane Floyd.
Aftermath of Hurricane Floyd in 1999.