Miami Beach isn't the only one running low on sand—a new study has found more than half of the sand on New York's Fire Island was washed away during Hurricane Sandy, LiveScience reports. Though 18% of the barrier island's sand has been replenished, the beach's volume is still 40% less than it was before the storm, the US Geological Survey has found. In addition to the damage caused by Sandy, subsequent storms rearranged the island's beaches even more, ultimately resulting in its shoreline moving 189 feet inland, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Beaches recover reasonably quickly, the study's lead author tells LiveScience, but sand dunes take much longer to build up again—and they're the island's best defense against wild weather in the future. "Overall, Hurricane Sandy profoundly impacted the morphology of Fire Island and resulted in an extremely low elevation, low relief configuration that has left the barrier island vulnerable to future storms," the study concluded, and "although the beach is likely to experience continued recovery in the form of volume gains, the dunes will take years to rebuild."