Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tropical Storm Debby Storm Surge Observations

Tropical Storm Debby formed in the Gulf of Mexico on June 23, 2012. The system slowly tracked to the northeast, stalling several times south of the Florida Panhandle. The system continued to track northeast, however, before making landfall north of Cedar Key, FL on June 26.

Debby produced severe flooding in many parts of Florida. In some areas the flooding was completely due to heavy rainfall, while in other areas it resulted from a combination of rainfall and storm surge. For example, portions of the Tampa/ St. Petersburg area flooded as water from torrential rains was slow to runoff due to elevated bay levels from storm surge.

Yesterday, world-famous coastal scientist Mike Bitton emailed me for Debby's surge obs, and I was ashamed to realize I didn't know what to tell him. So I dug a bit this morning and came up with some numbers. I hope if I can keep Mike on my good side he'll go cycling with me someday!

 These are highest surge obs that I estimated from NOAA Tides and Currents graphs. The visual estimation is probably accurate to within 1/10 of a foot, however, these numbers are listed as preliminary on the NOAA Tides and Currents website. All water elevations are height above Mean Sea Level (MSL).

Selected storm surge observations for Tropical Storm Debby:

Location                      Estimated Height (feet)       Date of High Water Obs
Fort Myers, FL            3.05                                     6/25
Old Port Tampa, FL    4.00                                      6/26
St. Petersburg, FL       3.55                                      6/26
Port Manatee, FL        3.3                                       6/26
Clearwater, FL            3.05                                     6/25
Cedar Key, FL            4.5                                       6/26
Apalachicola, FL        3.5                                       6/24-25
Panama City, FL         1.7                                       6/24
Pensacola, FL             1.9                                       6/25
Dauphin Island, AL     2.2                                      6/25
Mobile State Docks    1.7                                      6/25
Pascagoula, MS          2.3                                      6/25
Bay Waveland, MS      2.4                                      6/24
Shell Beach, LA          2.7                                      6/24
Pilots Station E, LA    2.3                                      6/25
If you have a surge observation you'd like to include on this list, please comment on this post, or email me at:

Hurricane Hal


  1. Hey Hal -- I will go biking with you anytime... even if its through a storm surge. ;)

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