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Year-end storm: Gualala Point / Mouth

12/31/2005   Peter

“Soon after noon, the northern 2/3 of the sand spit was almost completely eroded from the river side, leaving 4 evenly spaced mounds (beach cusps) with vertical scarps facing the river, and low washover troughs between them.

The above-tide mounds were less than 5 m wide by 1:30, and it’s likely that most of it will be reduced to an intertidal sill with the next high tide…the river is undercutting the remaining beach rapidly. I have never seen the mouth completely open like this; next year’s sand spit will be newly regenerated, not the same beach. Large flocks of gulls were riding the current to the mouth, taking flight as they hit the surf, and going back in for another ride!

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The marsh at the county park was submerged. Mill Bend was entirely under water, and the access road down to the kayak launch became a flowing bypass channel; water was lapping at the base of the ramp exit from Hwy 1. The entire riparian zone upstream from the bridge was fast-flowing current. The island in the estuary was under water (tops of shrubs emerged).”