Some areas of the Texas coast along the Gulf of Mexico are stabilized by beach nourishment or artificial protections, but the northeast Texas coast has been damaged and changed by short- and long-period erosion. The berm or dune that can act as protection from wave activities rarely exists, and mild, sloping beaches increase the potential of erosion in the study area. The upper Texas coast was monitored by Texas A&M University between 1999 and 2005. The measured beach profiles showed the morphological short- and long-period changes by overwash, and critical erosion was observed, especially by the landfall of hurricane Rita in 2005. The suspected causes of severe erosion were analyzed by comparing dune heights and beach widths, and it was found that overwash was one of the major factors causing erosion of the shoreline in the area. When storms made landfall in neighboring regions, such as southern Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, overwash by long-period waves of remote storms was observed during the beach surveys. Overwash by remote storms could not be ignored, and it was an important contributor to continued beach erosion in the study area. Erosion caused by direct landfall of storms had significant effects on long-period erosion as well.
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Vol. 27 • No. 3