Hurricane Storm Surge from Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands: Analyzing Wind, Pressure, Forward Speed, and the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale
KYRA M. BRYANT. Hurricane Storm Surge from Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands: Dissecting Wind, Pressure, Forward Speed, and the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale under the direction of DR. MUHAMMAD AKBAR. Most American hurricane studies concentrate on the Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern Seaboard, which consists of a broad continental shelf. Meager research exists among the United States’ island territories. This study evaluates storm surge along the fringing reef coasts of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. Storm surge ranks as a hurricane’s deadliest hazard. The phenomenon results primarily from strong winds associated with storms, but several other factors contribute to its intensity. Officials suggest that pressure plays a minor role in surge, but a strong correlation exists between a hurricane’s wind speed and pressure. This study experiments with intensity and pressure in Hurricanes Irma and Maria using ADCIRC+SWAN and Oceanweather Inc. meteorological inputs to determine if one is more significant to surge than the other despite being so closely related. Additional analysis includes how a hurricane’s forward speed and position, with respect to an island, affects storm surge. Finally, the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale (SSHWS), based exclusively on wind speed, serves as the primary communication tool between authorities and the public. The majority of fatalities and destruction results from storm surge, yet no concrete relationship exists between storm surge and wind speed. Therefore, broadcasting hurricane categories arguably misinforms storm surge risks among coastal communities. Analyzing the various components related to storm surge serves as a foundation for improving and updating how to communicate hurricane hazards. While these two storms devastated many areas of the United States, this study focuses solely on Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. These storms forever changed these communities. The results depict exactly how and why these two historic storms deeply scarred parts of our territory, often forgotten.
Engineering|Ocean engineering|Environmental engineering
Kyra M Bryant,
"Hurricane Storm Surge from Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands: Analyzing Wind, Pressure, Forward Speed, and the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale"
ETD Collection for Tennessee State University.