nature, florida, emerald coast

Okaloosa Island before Tropical Storm Hermine

It had been quite a while since I’d been on the beach, despite the fact that I look at the dunes almost every day from my office along the Emerald Coast. Last time I visited, the Gulf of Mexico was calm, tiny waves lapping gently on a sugar-sand shore.

The day before Tropical Storm Hermine, it was like an entirely different coastline. Rough waves crashed one after another, creating dramatic escarpments as sand washed away in the clawing current. On public beaches, double red flags flew, warning everyone to stay out of the surf. The water itself was up almost to the dunes themselves, the highest I’ve ever seen and underscoring the need to protect dunes in order to preserve our inshore areas. A brisk breeze whipped the iconic sea oats back and forth.

okaloosa island, florida, beach, nature, hermine

I walked a few yards before turning back. Gulls and Sanderlings looked for food in large puddles that had formed near the dunes. Tiny fishes and huge jelly-fish had already washed up, soon to be picked over by the avian and other scavengers. That’s not all – trash had also washed up, reminding me of all the plastic that fills our oceans.

nature, florida, emerald coast

Though the weather looked like it would turn nasty, Hermine barely touched us with her windy fingers as she barrelled by. We had rain, we had waves, but the sunrise and sunset were absolutely gorgeous. Till next time crazy Florida weather!

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