Sapelo weathers Hurricane Matthew
The Southeast Georgia Coast experienced its first major hurricane strike in over a hundred years with Matthew this past week. The staff of the Marine Institute worked hard to secure the lab in advance of the storm: pulling small boats out of the water, moving vehicles to high ground, putting up hurricane shutters, unplugging computers, etc. A mandatory evacuation was put into place on Thursday, and all of the Island residents (including UGAMI staff) were evacuated to safer ground.
When the storm hit on Friday night, 10/7, the weather station at Marsh Landing recorded maximum winds of about 60 mph and approximately 11 inches of rain. We’ll have a better idea of the extent of the surge once we recover our instruments, but the station at Meridian (Hudson Creek) showed an increase in water level of about 3 feet. These are less than had been expected, so we were lucky.
A large number of trees fell, and there are currently chainsaw crews working to clear the roads. However, the UGAMI buildings suffered only minor damage and reported no flooding. Power is currently out, and the Institute remains closed at this time.
We will provide additional updates as we get more information.