The Flooding is Up & Down The East Coast - The Breach at The Old Inlet Is Not Contributing To It

Nature & Weather, Local News, Seasonal & Current Events

Dr. Charles Flagg of Stony Brook's School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences has been monitoring the breach at The Old Inlet on The Great South ...

This Guest Post is brought to you by Dr. Charles Flagg, on behalf of Save the Great South Bay, and does not necessarily reflect the views & opinions of and its staff.

Because of all the excitement caused by last weekend's high waters, I have examined the water level record from Lindenhurst and compared that with the records from Bellport and Wood Hole. Woods Hole is included because it is completely in another coastal region.

Below are two figures. The first shows the de-tided records from the three stations and like the plot I sent out yesterday.  It is clear that these high and low water periods have been felt all along the coast. Sometimes Bellport gets more water than Lindenhurst and sometimes the opposite happens. Those are small local effects that depend upon wind direction.   Categorically, the large water level excursions have nothing to do with the breach at Old Inlet.

I then compared the tide records at Bellport and Lindenhurst before and after the hurricane and those plots are shown in the second figure. The tidal amplitudes have not changed as a result of the breach. So again the breach does not appear to have altered conditions within the Bay.

I completely understand the horror of watching the waters creep up towards ones house but it does not help the situation to insist upon closing the breach when it is clear that it is not to blame and there are clear water quality benefits to leaving it open.

Article Written by Dr. Charles Flagg
Dr. Charles Flagg of Stony Brook's School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences has been monitoring the breach at The Old Inlet on The Great South Bay since Sandy and has yet to see any evidence that the breach is contributing to flooding on The South Shore.

Photo of the Great South Bay Taken By Michael Busch.


About Save the Great South Bay

Save The Great South Bay was formed last August at a 35th Sayville High School Reunion, where the attendees shared their shock and dismay at  what the bay had become. They determined that  The Great South Bay had to be revitalized so that our children and grandchildren could swim, boat, clam and fish there. Save the Great South Bay has over 500 members since Jan 1st and has enlisted a number of local baymen and marine scientists studying the bay to the cause. It promotes new technologies, green practices and policies for healing  the bay, our ponds, rivers and streams.   It is a place where all those who love The Great South Bay and The South Shore can gather together to build a healthy, sustainable bay. To learn more, visit their website, "Like" the Facebook Page, join their Facebook Group, or follow Save the Great South Bay on Twitter.

To view their latest photos, check out the Save the Great South Bay Photo Album.



SaveTheGreatSouthBay Mar 15th, 2013 02:50 PM

Science, not politics, needs to drive and inform our policy decisions.   Here is a perfect example of deciding to do something regardless of the facts because certain vested interests, whether politicians, agencies, or contractors, were determined to have something happen that would benefit them.
Therefore the appeals to fear and the hostility toward scientific evidence, with the imputation that only they are standing with the flood victims.   Typical political manipulation!   We want a healthy bay, and we want a federal response to climate change as storms are flooding out the eastern seaboard ever since Sandy.
Let's use this boondoggle money that would literally be thrown in a hole and make our towns less flood prone via bulkheads, raising homes up, marshes, wetlands, and eelgrass.  We need natural barriers, not politicians blocking the way.

Steve Resler Mar 15th, 2013 03:30 PM

Excellent, Charlie. For decades most folks have ignored the facts. Science needs to speak up and folks should listen, carefully, more often. 

Mike Jasuta Mar 15th, 2013 04:02 PM

The bay is dieing, people.  This maybe hard to fathom, but it's true. The breach or Old Inlet as it was called when it was open back in 1938 is not contributing to the flooding.  There's been storm driven flooding up and down the eastern seaboard, and there are no breaches in these areas.   
Seek the truth by looking at the scientific information available.  There is a ton of it for us to make the right choice.  Don't leave it up to the Politicians. 

MinnieW Mar 15th, 2013 08:09 PM

What an interesting study and thank you for your work and research. The other comments are all correct as to the science behind things rather than the opinions of politicians who all have agendas - public and private. 

Bob M Mar 17th, 2013 12:35 PM

Who's to say that the breach at Old Inlet will not contribute to more flooding in future storms or even another  Cat 2 hurricane. That whats the concern of many coastal residents.  Maybe they could come bail me and my property out.

only me Mar 17th, 2013 10:54 PM

You've got to be an idiot to think that the breach is not causing flooding, however it is cleaning out the bay, it will take years to clean out 6ft of duckshit and by then we could loose prime waterfront property ( mine )  I live directly across from the breach at old the inlet and the waters are definitely higher my house is one of only a few that survived, and my neighbors will have to raise their homes if they want to come back. I say leave the breach open the waters are more important than a piece of real estate, if you cant handle the floods...MOVE.

JSP Mar 18th, 2013 03:39 PM

I hope that with beach re nourishment becoming a reality that some of the material come from the bay itself creating deeper channels which will help the cleansing process and just as importantly allow the bays to drain when the two inlets are dredged allowing larger volumes of water to leave the bay at low tide. Maybe some of our scientists could look into this? Years ago the county dredge maintained the east west channel and the dredge spoils were deposited on the beach. Hmm. Large dunes and clean moving bay water...coincidence?

Rich H Mar 24th, 2013 06:19 PM

Those "experts" who declare "the breach at old inlet is having NO effect on bay-front water levels" betray either a profound lack of logic, or worse, an agenda at odds with the facts. I could accept for reasoned debate a position that held for "little effect" but to say "NO effect" is not reasonable. If you accept the "NO effect" argument, then removal of the entire barrier beach (Fire Island) would have no effect on bay water levels. No rational person would make that argument.  Can we all agree on the following points? 1) The bay flooding after "Sandy" has been unprecedentedly frequent and severe, 
2) although small, the new breach DIRECTLY connects the Atlantic Ocean and the Great South Bay (Fire Island Inlet and Moriches Inlet do not),  3) Barrier beaches like Fire Island partially protect their bays from ocean water tidal surges. IF the statements above are true then the loss of ANY barrier beach means more extreme tides in the bay; to argue otherwise makes no sense

JR Apr 23rd, 2013 11:49 AM

My response to #2: SAY WHAT! So you mean to tell me you cannot navigate those inlets from the bay to the Ocean?!?! Look at the facts people! Mean water levels have been widely effected since the hurricane in the ENTIRE northeast. Do some research before commenting. I understand your frustration as a fellow southshore resident with much to lose as well. But to blame the new (old) inlet is folly at best. The benefits to the health of the bay will far outweigh the insignificant amount of increased water volume entering our bays.

tony d Apr 13th, 2013 11:41 AM

Rich - Just what is it you are somking and where can I get some?

cad sr Apr 13th, 2013 01:11 PM

Buy a house next to JFK airport and complain about the noise, buy a house in a floodplain and complain about the water ? give me a break. I am one of those who lives in a high risk flood area, deal with it or move.

Add your comment...


Join Our Weekly Newsletter

Sign up for a free weekly newsletter covering things to do, hottest local headlines, and everything Long Island! Read more here or enter your email to signup.

     Newsletter Archive
Advertise With Us
Open Feedback Dialog