CLOSINGS: View Closings

Before-and-after aerial photos show destruction, beach erosion on North Carolina coastline

Aerial images captured the destruction Hurricane Florence inflicted on the North Carolina coastline, from li...

Posted: Sep 20, 2018 8:14 AM
Updated: Sep 20, 2018 8:14 AM

Aerial images captured the destruction Hurricane Florence inflicted on the North Carolina coastline, from lines of houses shorn of their shingles to sand-covered streets.

The pictures were shot by planes outfitted with cameras taking "high-definition aerial photos" and collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The photos are vital to assessing damage and organizing the assistance that's needed.

Accidents, disasters and safety


Coastal areas

Continents and regions

Destinations and attractions

Environment and natural resources

Erosion and erosion control

Hurricane Florence


Islands and reefs

Landforms and ecosystems

Natural disasters

Natural resources management

North America

North Carolina

Points of interest

Severe weather

Southeastern United States

The Americas

Tropical storms

United States


The latest post-Hurricane Florence photos were taken Tuesday; NOAA told CNN that the pre-Florence photos were taken in 2014.

In one image, the southernmost portions of Topsail Beach's main thoroughfare, Anderson Boulevard, are still covered with dark standing water. Ocean Boulevard, one of the side streets, is completely covered with sand.

The flow of the storm surge is etched into the sand it flung onshore. Some docks behind Carolina Boulevard are stripped of their timber, with only their pylons remaining.

Houses across the island had their shingles shorn by the high winds.

Before Hurricane Florence, the Surf Condos black asphalt parking lot hugged the eight buildings in the complex. Now, aerial images show it covered in sand.

The beach in front of the condo buildings appears to be halved—eroded by the storm.

Just up the street from the condos, almost 1.3 miles of North Shore drive is covered in sand from the surge.

More than a mile of Shore Drive, the road closest to the beach, is almost completely covered in sand. Even portions of the Topsail Drive, further inland, are covered.

Among the checkered roofs, their shingles torn off in the wind, are the emerald green above-ground pools. Their in-ground counterparts' water matches the same hue of the dirty standing water on the roads.

Debris from this stretch of houses litters the ground, all the way towards the sound side of the island.

Beaches disappear along barrier islands from surge

Before the storm, the National Weather Service warned the surge would bring "extreme beach erosion with significant loss of dunes."

Along the barrier islands, the sandy beachfront is noticeably thinner. But the greatest changes appear to be along the inlets that dot the state's barrier islands.

The northern point of the New River Inlet is drastically different post Hurricane Florence.

The northern point of the New Topsail Inlet, the Southernmost tip of Topsail Island, is also drastically smaller than it was in 2014.

Article Comments

Mason City
25° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 11°
Albert Lea
25° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 16°
28° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 17°
Charles City
27° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 12°
25° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 14°
Lovely weekend ahead
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video


Coronas Tacos Undaunted by Name


FEMA suggests only buying groceries for a week


Rochester Fire Department using PPE


Takeout liquor is just a call away in Iowa


A closer look at the CDC recommendation to wear a mask


Stewartville first responder suspension


Chris' PM Weather Forecast


Shopping for groceries the smart way


How often should you be visiting the grocery store?


Gov. Walz Gives Update on Food Supply

Community Events