5.4 Forecasting Meteotsunamis along Florida's West Coast

Wednesday, 13 January 2016: 10:45 AM
Room 342 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Charles H. Paxton, NOAA/NWS, Ruskin, FL; and L. Paxton and J. M. Collins

Significant meteotsunamis that caused inundation along Florida coastlines during 1992 and 1995 were both over 2 m in height. These events brought statewide awareness to the phenomenon. The 1995 meteotsunami was generated almost solely, in the absence of wind, by a fast-moving (25 ms-1) atmospheric pressure perturbation moving over waters of consistent depth within the Gulf of Mexico. Since those events, many other meteotsunamis have been identified impacting the west coast of Florida from the Gulf of Mexico. Most of these events have been less than 1 m in height and associated with synoptic scale weather systems with pressure perturbations and winds sweeping across the gulf at 10-15 ms-1 from the northwest along constant bathymetric lines. A forecast process was developed incorporating these factors that include the direction of movement, pressure differences, and vector wind, responsible for the development and height of meteotsunamis. Using data from high resolution meteorological models these events may be forecast in advance for coastal interests with some degree of accuracy.
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