Saturday, September 3, 2011

Unnamed 1943 Storm and Hurricane Juan (1985) May Provide Perspective on Lee's Surge Potential

The Unnamed 1943 hurricane spun off the Texas Coast, making a loop before heading NE into Louisiana.

Hurricane Juan (1985) made multiple loops as it approached the SW Louisiana Coast.

An unnamed 1943 Hurricane and Hurricane Juan (1985) may provide insight into TS Lee's storm surge potential. Although both of the previous storms were hurricanes, they spun off the Northern Gulf Coast, and were downgraded into tropical storms while still impacting the region.

The unnamed 1943 storm revealed one of the most interesting surge histories in the SURGEDAT dataset. Research originally looked for peak surge levels along the Texas Coast, however, the highest surge located for this storm occurred east of New Orleans, on Highway 11 near Chef Menteur. Prolonged onshore winds put around 3 feet of surge over Highway 11 in that storm, which translates to a surge level of approximately 6 feet. What is truly amazing is that this peak surge level occurred hundreds of miles from the storm's track.

Hurricane Juan generated a more typical storm surge, as the peak surge level was closer to the storm's track. Juan generated a peak surge of 8 feet at Cocodrie, LA.

These previous storms provide insight into the surge potential of TS Lee. The unnamed 1943 storm provides a great example of surge overwash occurring at considerable distance from the storm's track, especially in SE Louisiana, where prolonged east or southeast winds can pile up enough water to flood roadways.

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