Storm Chases/ Events: 2006
Storm Chases/ Events: 2006
Storm Chases/ Events: 2006
Storm Chases/ Events: 2006
Effects of Beach Erosion on Homes and Texas Highway 87  Destruction
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Galveston, Bolivar, Crystal Beach, McFaddin Wildlife, Sea Rim State Park.
Aerial images courtesy: USGS
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Storm Chases/ Events: 2006
Rather dramatic before and after of non-protected beach east of the Galveston seawall. These condos lost 50 yards of property! The eye of the hurricane passed only a few miles west of this location.
BEACH EROSION: Click photos below for larger images
Ike homepage
As of this writing, a dozen people are still missing from this small community of Port Bolivar. All the homes in front of the yellow arrow washed away.
Storm Chases/ Events: 2006
Storm Chases/ Events: 2006
My father helped build our family beach cabin near Crystal Beach. Only a few structures survived. I'll go back someday to check if it's still there.
McFaddin Wildlife Refuge provided a fresh water barrier from the Gulf. Zillions of alligators and critters washed inland. See below photos for what McFaddin is supposed to look like.
Storm Chases/ Events: 2006
McFaddin Refuge and Sea Rim State Park. See the arrow and that road (Highway 87) ? I took the pictures (right and below) of that area just three weeks earlierl.
Storm Chases/ Events: 2006
See the gray building in the left photo? Here's what the area looked like three weeks before. We were in this area just weeks before Ike for a family reunion.
Storm Chases/ Events: 2006
The yellow arrow in the USGS aerial photo above shows our location three weeks earlier. This photo above shows a last look at the fresh water marsh about 18 days before the hurricane.
My wife and I enjoying the beach at Sea Rim just before Hurricane Ike removed it. Today that beach is now 50 yards farther inland!
For generations, Texas Highway 87 connected Sabine Pass with Galveston along a traditional coastal highway.  But over the years, hurricanes washed out hundred of yards of coastline.

Hurricane Jerry in 1989 eroded a 20 mile stretch, and there's no plans to rebuild.  What's left of old roadbed now runs along the beach and under water!

If the highway was reconstructed farther inland, wildlife eco-systems would be altered, and the lightly populated area doesn't really warrant a highway.

So with little need for reconstruction, the remains of the old highway is gradually being reclaimed by nature.

My father drove us along this highway on family vacations years back, and my wife and I recently drove a small stretch of it to see what it's like today.
Texas Highway 87: Permanent Detour.
A coastal highway will likely never open again.
Pictured above, Highway 87 abruptly ends here just after the entrance to the McFaddin Refuge. "Road Closed" signs are posted, but you can drive down the road a few more miles.
Driving another mile, the road narrows to one lane as coastal marsh gradually reclaims the highway.
One mile later the beach encroaches with this section of road flooding during high tide.  The last time Dad drove this highway years ago, you couldn't even see the beach!  From here old 87  continues breaking up until completely disappearing into the Gulf!
A few folks have made the 20 mile long beach drive to where Highway 87 picks up again near High Island and Galveston. You'll need a 4x4 and about two hours and be prepared to get stuck!
Note: I took these picture below just BEFORE Hurricane Ike.
Note: The next time I go home, I'll try driving and photographing this stretch again to see what it looks like AFTER the hurricane.
Map of the closed section of Highway 87, courtesy Ron Jackson of texasfreeway.com

Read more of Ron's write up on Highway 87
here.