11D.5 Myths about the Cause of Hurricane Katrina's Storm Surge

Wednesday, 12 May 2010: 4:30 PM
Tucson Salon A-C (JW MArriott Starr Pass Resort)
Pat Fitzpatrick, Mississippi State University, Stennis Space Center, MS; and Y. Lau, C. M. Hill, T. V. Wamsley, B. Jelley, and E. Valenti

Category 3 Hurricane Katrina's record and destructive storm surge has provoked much speculation about its cause. Various Theories attribute the inundation to: 1) levee trapping; 2) wetland loss; 3) Category 5 status offshore; 4) large eye size; 5) wide gale-force wind radii; 6) wave setup; and 7) A man-made canal called the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet acting as a "storm surge funnel". In the tradition of snopes.com, we will address the veracity of each claim. Hypothetical simulations using ADCIRC and SLOSH will facilitate this discussion.

To further corroborate this discussion, we will briefly review storm surge physics. A new surge scale will be presented that can be used for storm surge emergency preparation. This scale is based on the following factors: bathymetry zones, storm size, intensity, and translation speed. Another scale will show the eastward extent of 5- and 10-foot surge.

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