Fiona pushed back the banks of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine by more than 20 meters in places

Fiona has pushed back the banks of Îles-de-la-Madeleine by more than 20 meters in places


The shores of the Magdalen Islands have retreated more than 20 meters in places under the force of post-tropical storm Fiona, which hit the east of the country last month. 

This was observed by a team from the Laboratory of Dynamics and Integrated Management of Coastal Zones of the University of Quebec at Rimouski (UQAR) dispatched to the field from the 1st October.

“In comparison, we had measured a maximum value of retreat of 15.95 m with [the storm] Dorian in 2019, then before that, in 2010-2011, [during successive violent storms in December and January], we had measured 28.7 m at a station, explained geographer Pascal Bernatchez, head of the laboratory. And just from the images that I've seen so far, in the dune areas where we have our cameras, we know that the recoil by Fiona is very important.”

Mr. Bernatchez specified that his laboratory has around ten cameras and as many instruments for measuring waves and water levels in the archipelago, and that once all the data has been collected, it will allow a more precise calculation of the damage around mid-November.

He also points out that, according to data collected by ocean buoys from the Maurice Lamontagne Institute of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Fiona's 126 km/h winds caused waves of 16 meters off the Islands. /p>

“The dune has receded in several places quite significantly in Fatima and in Havre-aux-Maisons, on the other side. We even lost one of our cameras,” said the researcher in an interview.

Despite a setback in the banks of 15 to 25 meters in some places during the violent storms of December 2010 and January 2011, then autumn 2019 among others, the coastline of the archipelago only suffered an average erosion of 50 cm during the period 2005-2021. The data from the retreat under the effect of Fiona will be added to those collected last summer, as part of the annual monitoring of the coastal dynamics of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine that UQAR has been doing for 17 years now. We will have to wait until next summer to have the full review of the year 2022.