Disappearing Newfoundland beach alarms locals

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The residents of St. Lawrence, Newfoundland had a nasty surprise this past December when they realized the sandy hotspot known as Shoal Cove Beach had been transformed into a rocky wreck. Winter storms and high winds had sucked the sand out to sea leaving the beach less than inviting.

Shoal Cove was a favourite summertime spot because its sand was so unusual along the province’s craggy coast. During the warmer months tourists and locals would head to the area for picnics, swimming, camping, and bonfires. After such an intense winter residents were less than impressed with the beach’s migration out to sea.

The current state of Shoal Cove Beach. Picture courtesy of the CBC
Picture courtesy of the CBC. The current state of Shoal Cove Beach.

According to experts, the sudden transformation may not be that unusual, and it probably isn’t permanent. Norm Catto, a Memorial university Geography professor, spoke to the CBC about the missing beach and said it was was nothing to worry about. He believes the sand is just off shore at the bottom of the cove.

“This is a natural fluctuation,” he told the CBC.

“It occurs in response to storm events, particularly storms out of the southwest.”

Picture courtesy of the CBC. The beach before the storms this winter.

In all likelihood the sand will return once the weather changes and the wind becomes less intense. Some locals told the CBC that they can already see it slowly returning, especially at low tide. Catto said it usually takes a few weeks to two or three months for a beach to be fully restored.

In the meantime, residents are in for some lumpy sunbathing.