Coastal Forecasts and Storm Surge Predictions for Tropical Cyclones: A Timely Partnership Program

Hans Graber, Vincent Cardone, Robert Jensen, Donald Slinn, Scott Hagen, Andrew Cox, Mark Powell, Charles Grassl
2006 Oceanography  
The long-term goal of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) to establish an operational forecasting system for winds, waves, and surge impacting the coastline during the approach and landfall of tropical cyclones. M 19, phy Oceano s more people and associated infrastructure concentrate along coastal areas, the United States is becoming more vulnerable to the impact of tropical cyclones. It is not surprising, especially after the past two hurricane seasons, that
more » ... canes are the costliest natural disasters because of the migration of the population towards the coast and the resulting changes in the national wealth density or revenue. A better understanding of both hurricane frequencies and intensities as they vary from year to year and their relation to changes in damages is of great interest to scientists, public and private-decision makers, and the general public. The estimation of tropical-cyclone-generated waves and surge in coastal waters and the nearshore zone is of critical importance to the timely evacuation of coastal residents, and the assessment of damage to coastal property in the event that a storm makes landfall. The model predictions of waves and storm surge in coastal waters are functionally related and both depend on the reliability of the atmospheric forcing. Hurricane Georges (1998), Ivan (2004), and Katrina and Wilma (2005) are excellent examples of intense tropical cyclones with numerous landfalls and unexpected changes in intensity and movement. Although there are no perfect predictions of the time and location of landfall and the intensity and size of the storm, we are able to forecast wind strength, storm-wave height, and surge levels that are expected along the offi cial track from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) as well as from an ensemble of about a dozen track forecasts that would bracket the results from the least to worst conditions. The variability of these parameters, if known for different forecast tracks, could positively impact the advisories. To be effective and useful, a critical component of any forecast system is its timeliness.
doi:10.5670/oceanog.2006.96 fatcat:sdg2kk6qenbwbdusnnotk3wtzq