Bluffs
Forms
Drift
Storms
Slides
 
Storms  
 
The shoreline along Puget Sound shifts with the seasons. Winter storms bring larger waves. The beach erodes, as more materials are swept along the shoreline and away from the beach.  
 
Storm. Photo by Hugh Shipman.
Where a beach "berm" or ledge develops, it is usually low and wide during the summer. During the winter however, the berm becomes high and narrow as most of the sand moves offshore. Spring and summer bring calmer waves. Storm activity subsides and light northerly winds prevail rebuilding a wider summer profile beach.  
 
 
Changing Contours

Beaches change with the seasons. Beach profiles are often narrow in the winter and wide in the summer.

Sand Shifts With Seasons

Many of the beaches in northern Puget Sound consist of a shallow veneer of sand or gravel over rocks. During winter months, storms remove most of the sand, exposing cobbles and underlying bedrock. In the summer, the sand returns.

At South Whidbey State Park in Island County, sand bars cover the lower portion of the gravel beach. Sand moves with the seasons and storms, sometimes covering much of the beach, other times being drawn offshore.
South Whidbey State Park, Island County. Photo by Hugh Shipman.
South Whidbey State Park, Island County.
Related Links

Coastal Change: Natural Processes, USGS.
How coastal lands change with seasons and storms. 

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Comments? E-mail: Shellyne Grisham