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The Georgia Bight

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This information might help to better understand the risk of hurricanes here in coastal Ga. Note we are due south of the eastern edge of Ohio.


The Georgia Bight

In Georgia, United States
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Geocache Description:
You are standing at the Western most spot on the US East coast! How does that geography affect us?

The Bight

In geography, a bight has two meanings. A bight can be simply a bend or curve in any geographical feature, usually a coast. Alternatively, the term can refer to a large (and often only slightly receding) bay. It is distinguished from a sound by being shallower. Traditionally, explorers defined a bight as a bay that could be sailed out of on a single tack in a square-rigged sailing vessel, regardless of the direction of the wind (typically meaning the apex of the bight is less than 25 degrees from the edges).

The Tide

The Georgia coast is the most western coastline on the Atlantic seaboard, putting Georgia at the center of a giant funnel called the Georgia Bight. At high tide, water is pushed by the shape of the coastline from North Carolina and Florida, forcing water to gather on top of itself, creating a 6- to 9-foot tidal change on the Georgia coast at the center of the funnel. The sides of the funnel on the central Florida and North Carolina coasts have 3-foot tides. Tidal movement can be detected as much as 40 miles up some of Georgia's coastal rivers. This is a distinguishable characteristic of the Georgia coast and is pertinent to its ecosystem.


Occasionally, the Georgia coast is walloped by a hurricane. Hurricanes can be devastating, with winds up to 200 miles an hour, spawning deadly tornadoes and floods. On average, there are 10.1 named each year in the U.S. The Georgia coast has a 5 percent risk of being hit by a hurricane annually, with August, September, and October being the most common months for these storms.
The origin of hurricanes is not entirely clear, but they are formed in tropical oceans when there is a large body of warm, moist air that develops into a counterclockwise-rotating storm with winds over 74 miles per hour.
Hurricanes predominantly travel from east to west (Africa to North America). They build strength over the equatorial warm waters and later, the gulf stream. When their forward momentum is halted by the prevailing atmospheric movement (west to east) they curve northward. Because of its geographic position, Georgia is one of the safest-rated areas on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
There are 3 typical tracks of hurricanes that strike the coast:
1 - A Hurricane travelling directly West. These usually strike Florida's east coast.
2 - A Hurricane curving northward over water. These usually hit the Carolinas, which are north of here.
3 - A Hurricane travelling passed Florida then curving northward. These usually hit the gulf states or the west coast of Florida.

But that doesn't mean don't worry if there's a hurricane warning. The Georgia coast experienced five major hurricanes in the 1800s. The most devastating one put Tybee Island completely under 10 feet of water(1898). This coastal island was similarly affected and flooding spread to much of Brunswick. Hurricane Hugo was headed for Tybee in 1989, but veered north to Charleston, South Carolina, where it killed 86 people and did $7 billion worth of damage. Hurricane Andrew in 1992 hit Miami and killed 61 people, destroyed $26.5 billion worth of property, and made 160,000 people homeless.

Understanding the Tides

To humans, knowledge of the tides can be an asset. When Julius Caesar attacked the English coast in 54 b.c. during a full moon (which creates the greatest tidal range), he was unaware of the 20-foot tide, which stranded his fleet, then destroyed it when the tides changed.
Closer to home, beach lovers have drowned on the Georgia coast when they have been stranded on sandbars and underestimated the strength, direction, and duration of tidal forces. Tidewater plantations harnessed the power of tides for growing rice, and sawmills. The nearby town of Darien used the action of tides to power machinery for crops and the lumber industry in its hayday.

Criterion For Logging

1 - You are standing on the Westernmost point on the US atlantic coast line. According to the sign, tell me what US city are you directly south of?

2 - Look at the nearby water. Are you here at high tide or low tide? Tell me why you think this.

3 - Look around you. Guess the elevation of any natural hill nearby. What is that height? What would happen, in your opinion if a hurricane hit?

4 - Optional. Send me a photo of you and your group at a nearby site. Please do not include the sign in your photo.

Information for bight, tides and hurricanes on this page were referenced from Wikipedia.org (English) search

Latest Activity: Sep 05, 2017 at 4:03 PM

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