University of South Florida researchers examined Ivan's impact and short-term recovery along a 125-mile stretch of coast from Fort Walton Beach to St. George Island.
Ivan made landfall Sept. 16, 2004, briefly reaching Category 5 strength, persisting as a strong Category 4 hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico before being downgraded to a strong Category 3 at landfall.
The scientists found dramatic morphological and sedimentological impacts more than 185 miles eastward from the center of the hurricane. Extensive inundation and overwash occurred within about 60 miles of the storm center at landfall. The highest elevation of beach erosion extended considerably above the measured storm-surge level, indicating storm-wave setup and swash run-up played significant roles in controlling the elevation of beach erosion.
The researchers said beach recovery began immediately after the storm and within 90 days, the berm crest recovered to its pre-storm elevation although it was re-located about 10 miles landward.
The study appears in the Journal of Coastal Research.