A few historic storms have changed the shape of Assateague Island
Changes to a barrier island made by ocean currents often happen too gradually to see. But major storms can cause sudden changes that are hard to miss. In one day, a storm can break a barrier island in half. 

Some storms cut inlets that remain open
1933 hurricaneThe resort town of Ocean City on Fenwick Island and Assateague Island were once connected forming a long narrow peninsula. But the summer hurricane of 1933 with winds of 160 kph (100 mph) and waves of 6 m (20 ft) high drove storm surge over the peninsula into the bay. As the bay waters rushed back to the ocean, an inlet was cut through, creating the two islands known as Fenwick and Assateague Islands that exist today.

Some storms cut inlets that fill in after the storm passes

The slow-moving Ash Wednesday storm pounded the entire Mid-Atlantic coast from March 6-8, 1962. This storm coincided with an extra-high spring tide, produced a storm surge of 2.7 m (9 ft) above mean low water, and lasted through five successive high tides.

Very strong winds from 72.4 kph (45 mph) to 104.6 kph (65 mph) were reported by the US Coast Guard Station in Ocean City, MD. Flooding of the island occurred from both the oceanside and bayside, and the elevated water level allowed waves to wash over large sections of the coastlines and barrier islands from New York to Virginia.

The northern end of Assateague Island was submerged during the storm and the island was breached in numerous places (see arrows left). Since that storm, however, these inlets have filled in naturally.