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Introduction of an Inundation Analysis of Hurricanes Ivan, Dennis, and Katrina

Kathleen Egan (Kathleen.Egan@noaa.gov) Lijuan Huang (Lijuan.Huang@noaa.gov) Lori E. Fenstermacher (Lori.Fenstermacher@noaa.gov)


Wind speeds and storm surge are generally considered the most damaging factors in a storm; however, the duration of inundation is also critical. This study focuses on peak storm tide elevations and the durations of inundation that occurred along Gulf Coast water level stations throughout the courses of three major hurricanes, Ivan, Dennis and Katrina, which exhibit similar storm tracks. The NOAA National Ocean Service (NOS) Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) historical water level data collected by water level stations along the U.S. coast were used to calculate the duration of inundation above the Mean Higher High Water datum at individual stations. Generally, as the storms traversed the Gulf, durations of inundation were longest in the vicinities of the hurricane landfalls, with still relatively longer durations outside of the landfall region. These results are echoed in hydrographs displaying highly elevated water levels recorded at the time of Ivan, Dennis and Katrina landfalls, as represented in the associated CO-OPS Storm Tide Quicklooks. The Storm Tide Quicklook product is a web-based compilation of near real-time storm tide and meteorological data, and is initiated by CO-OPS during tropical cyclone events. These inundation analysis results are the early stages of future research that could focus on quantifying the degree to which storm characteristics (wind speeds, rainfall, storm speed, etc.) contribute to long durations of inundation.

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