92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012: 1:45 PM
Storm Surge Return Periods for the U.S. Gulf Coast
Room 338 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Hal F. Needham, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA; and B. D. Keim

This study estimated tropical cyclone-generated storm surge levels for 10-year, 25-year, 50-year and 100-year return periods along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The study utilized SURGEDAT, a Gulf of Mexico storm surge database, for statistical analysis. A K-means cluster analysis utilized SURGEDAT data to divide the Gulf Coast into 10 regions, and the Southern Regional Climate Center (SRCC) linear regression method calculated maximum surge levels for each return period in each zone. Surge levels were highest in the Southeast Louisiana- Mississippi Zone, where the 100-year storm surge level was 7.67 meters, and lowest in the Cedar Key- Tampa Zone, where the 100-year storm surge level was 3.33 meters. These values were compared to a basin-wide analysis that utilized the Gumbel and Beta-P distributions, as well as the Huff-Angel and SRCC linear regression methods to calculate return periods for the entire U.S. Gulf Coast. The Kolmogorov-Smirnov Statistic indicated that the SRCC method, which generated a 100-year level of 8.22 meters, produced the best results in this analysis. These results will likely benefit the scientific research community, such as storm surge modelers and coastal scientists. They will also likely benefit local, regional and Federal emergency management personnel, planners, decision makers, and stakeholders in various industries.

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