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    Jesse Ferrell

    Google TimeLapse Vs. Outer Banks, Devils Lake

    By Jesse Ferrell, Meteorologist/Community Director
    5/15/2013, 6:25:33 AM

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    When I saw that Google and Time had partnered to create a 30-year satellite time-lapse of Earth, my first question was: "How can this illustrate weather?" My first answer was: Devil's Lake, North Dakota. This lake has been growing larger and larger swallowing up the city for the last 15 years; it's a fascinating story and I last blogged about it in 2010. Since then, the western drought has brought the lake down by about a foot.

    What you're looking at in the animation above (high-res) is the ballooning of the lake's area during the 1990s. Note that you can actually watch roads disappear! It's fascinating and I have more photos and satellite shots on my 2010 post.

    My next thought was to to zoom in on the Outer Banks of North Carolina (where I visit each summer) to see the inlets grow and decay at the hand of man and nature. Here is a look at that area from 1984 to 2012, as I zoom in on each inlet in this video (high-res):

    First, from the north, Ockracoke Inlet, which was opened during a hurricane 150 years ago. Watch it grow and decay as storms shift the sand around and (occasionally) man attempts to dredge and rebuild. Farther south (and this one's tiny, look to the center of the picture) we see the breach caused by Hurricane Irene in 2011, tentatively named Irene Inlet (a temporary bridge has been built over it).

    Farther south, we miss seeing Isabel Inlet, gouged by Hurricane Isabel in 2003, because it was filled in several months after the storm, and these satellite photos are only taken once per year. Next up is Hatteras then Ocracoke Inlet, and finally New-Old Drum Inlet, breached in 1999 by Hurricane Dennis, and Ophelia Inlet, cut by Hurricane Ophelia in 2005 (in 2008 it appears to have merged with, or help close New Drum inlet, just to its north which had been open since 1971).

    Suffice to say, the number of inlets on the Outer Banks over the last several hundred years is a rich tapestry (see this PDF) from which the map below is taken from, and used as a reference for the statements above. After the timeframe of this time-lapse, additional damage (but no breaches) was caused by Hurricane Sandy and Nor'easters in 2012 (there are so many problems on Highway 12 that it has its own Department of Transportation Project Website).


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    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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    Jesse Ferrell