In a few hours or days, scores of meters of beach width can be lost due to a severe storm. However, newly available shoreline data from the U.S. East Coast show that beaches recover after storms to positions consistent with their long-term (100+ yr) trend. Even the largest storms, such as the Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962, considered to be the most damaging in the twentieth century, appear to have had little effect on the long-term trend. The gradual recession of beaches along the U.S. East Coast is mainly controlled by other factors such as sea-level risc and variations of sediment supply. Therefore, it follows that barrier beaches in a coastal plain setting would not experience long-term erosion in response to storm impact if the sea were to stop rising and sediment supply did not change.