On October 29, 2012, storm surge and large waves produced by Hurricane 13 Sandy resulted in the formation of a breach in eastern Fire Island, NY. The goals of this study 14 are to gain a better understanding of the physical processes that govern breach behavior and 15 to assess whether process-based models can be used to forecast the evolution of future 16 breaches. The Wilderness Breach grew rapidly in size during the first winter following 17 formation. Growth of the breach was accompanied by the formation of a complex of flood 18 shoals inside Great South Bay, a primary channel that flowed through the eastern part of the 19 flood shoals, and an ebb shoal on the ocean side of the breach. From the summer of 2013 20 through late 2015, the breach continued to change and evolve, albeit at a much slower pace 21 than in the first year after formation. A hybrid combination of Delft3D and XBeach models is 22 used to hindcast the morphodynamic evolution of the Wilderness Breach over the first three 23 years after formation. The formation of the breach during Hurricane Sandy is not part of the 24 simulations. Model simulations are initiated with a post-storm topography in which the 25 breach is already present. The models are capable of hindcasting the main morphodynamic 26 changes of the Wilderness Breach. The spatial patterns, as well as the bulk statistics, such as 27
breach geometry and sediment volume changes, are reasonably 28 well reproduced by the model.
29 The model sheds light on previously unknown processes of breach evolution, especially
30 regarding sediment transport and flow regimes within the breach complex.