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New Technology Explains Storm Erosion

Scientists are getting a better understanding of storm erosion on the Outer Banks. New technology developed by the Army Corps of Engineers is illuminating why storms damage certain spots and not others. Jesse McNinch is Director of the Corps' Field Research Facility in Duck.

Jesse McNinch: We really needed instruments or technology that would allow us to look at not only the beach, every little surface of the beach during a storm, but also the waves and the sandbars in the surf zone during a storm. And we needed to do it not just at one location; we needed to be able to see what was happening over kilometers, many-kilometers scale.

Claris, the Coastal Lidar and Radar Imaging System, is mounted on a Sno-Cat or all-terrain vehicle that travels the beach in stormy weather. McNinch says Claris collected data showing why Hurricane Irene hit certain spots harder than others and that could be used to predict damage from future storms.

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