Friday, October 4, 2013

A New, Simplified, Observed Storm Surge Map

NOAA Tides and Currents has provided near real-time water levels for numerous tide gages along the U.S. Gulf Coast. In this map, I've plotted the water heights for various stations at 2:00PM this afternoon.

Shell Beach, Louisiana, is reporting the highest storm surge level, with a height of 1.51 feet. Various locations in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are reporting surge levels of 1-1.5 feet. Storm surge levels on the Texas and Florida coasts are less than 1 foot.

This latest map is a simplified version of the map I posted this morning. This new map simply plots the height of storm surge, which is the water level above normal tide levels, at a given location. The previous map also plotted storm tide levels, which are a combination of tide levels and storm surge. Historic water level heights are often recorded as storm tide, but the new map can be simplified and plotted completely as storm surge, because NOAA Tides and Currents provides both values.

These maps are experimental products. I'd appreciate your feedback in both encouragement and constructive criticism. What do you like about the map? What could be improved?

I'd like to note that we do not yet have an automated script to pull these values from NOAA Tides and Currents. These maps were created manually- and I'd like to give a shout out to undergrad student Bryant Garcin for helping build the data today. These maps will not likely be updated over the weekend, but, depending on the feedback we receive, we could generate these maps more regularly for the 2014 Hurricane Season.

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