Dr. Charles Flagg took another flight over the Breach at Old Inlet on October 7, 2015 and had the following to report:
After the stormy period of early October it was expected that there would be changes at the Old Inlet breach. And that has been confirmed by aerial photos taken yesterday. Winds recorded at the GSB1 buoy during the period from Sept 30 through Oct 5 averaged 15 to 20 knots and occasionally reached 30kts, almost entirely from the northeast. The NODC buoy 30 miles offshore indicated 4m significant wave heights, primarily from the east to northeast. And the ocean waves breaking over the ebb shoal and along the western shore of the breach were clearly visible from across the bay.
The attached oblique photo and photo mosaic indicate that the extension of the spit that had connected Fire Island to Pelican Island has been almost completely eroded so that there is just a vestige of the spit left. However, a lot of sand has been deposited around the remains of Pelican Island and resurrected west channel is choked with sand. In past the fall period has been the time when the previous versions of the extend spit were removed but there was not as much sand left in the area as there is this year. So the short-term evolution of the spit is uncertain. The other significant thing that has happened is that the eastern shore of the breach has accumulated a substantial amount of sand and encroached into the breach by at least 100 m. This is an area that has been occupied by shoals along the main channel in the past so this may simply be a temporary situation. The beach along the south shore to the east has narrowed quite noticeably while an along-shore bar has formed just offshore. Presumably, that offshore bar will reconnect with the beach if the weather remains mild for a while.
In the Bay the water temperatures have dropped by ~10C with the onset of cooler conditions. Salinity at Bellport decreased by ~6 psu with the 3″ of rain we had last week but has recovered to about 29 psu. In the middle of the Bay at the buoy, salinities remain high at 29.5 to 30 psu and higher than in Bellport Bay. Part of this is the result of the prolonged winds from the east which tend to bring saline ocean waters in through Moriches Inlet and the breach while expelling Bay waters from the down-wind Fire Island Inlet. It will take some time for these waters to re-establish the earlier distributions.
The latest flyover mosaic is below.