In this study, it is demonstrated that hurricane wind intensity, forward speed, pressure, and track play an important role on the generation and propagation of coastal storm surges. Hurricane Irma, which heavily impacted the entire Florida peninsula in 2017, is used to study the storm surge sensitivity to varying storm characteristics. Results show that the west coast experiences a negative surge due to offshore wind of the approaching storm, but the positive surge returns after the hurricane eye passes over a location and wind became onshore. In the west coast peak, surges are intensified by an increase in onshore wind intensity and forward speed. In the Florida Keys, peak surges are intensified by an increase in wind intensity, a decrease in forward speed and a decrease in pressure. In southeast and east Florida, peak surges are intensified by decrease in pressure, although overall surges are less significant as the water can slide along the coastline. In the recessed coastline of Georgia-Carolinas, maximum surge is elevated by an increase in onshore wind intensity. Shifting the track westward increases peak surges on the west coast, while shifting the track eastward increases peak surge on the east coast. The results demonstrate a new understanding about the sensitivity of surge to varying parametric conditions and the importance of considering changes in the coastline orientation in storm surge predictions.
Musinguzi, A.; Shamsu, M.; Akbar, M.K.; Fleming, J.G. Understanding the Effects of Wind Intensity, Forward Speed, Pressure and Track on Generation and Propagation of Hurricane Irma Surges around Florida. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9, 963. https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9090963