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Storm Damage
Introduction | Identification | Impacts | Causes | Actions | More Info

If you have a coral reefthat is a short distance off your shore, notice how the waves break on the reef while the inshore area is calmer. During storms, these offshore reefs protect the shore from the effects of large waves. In this case, a healthy reef is an insurance policy against the damaging effects of storms. Coral reefs provide a number of services to both the marine communities that live on the reef and the local human communities that live off the reef, using its diversity of natural resources. Buffering storm-waves is just one of these services that reefs provide to coastal communities.

However, storms can devastate coral communities themselves. Delicate branching corals as well as large coral heads can be broken into pieces and overturned as a result of heavy wave action from hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones. Such storms can produce and accumulate large amounts of coral rubble on a reef.

Large volumes of sand can also be removed or shifted by storm waves. Some corals may be buried by sand as it is redistributed by a storm.
Reef devastated by a hurricane. Etang Sale, Réunion (ARVAM)
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