Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Surges That Will Shock You- Global Surge Highlights from August, 2015

Global Storm Surge Highlights

August 2015

The month of August, 2015, was an active month in the tropics, particularly in the Northeast and Northwest Pacific Ocean. This month, however, witnessed surprising surges in places like the Cape Verde Islands (tropical) and coastal Chile (non-tropical).

A massive non-tropical coastal flood in Chile, on August 8, produced tremendous waves that slammed cars and buildings.
Image and video: @MeteoAste on Twitter.


1. Super Typhoon Soudelor
Super Typhoon Soudelor intensified into a category-5 equivalent cyclone with maximum sustained 1-min winds reaching 180 MPH (285 KPH), according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Fortunately, this super typhoon weakened to a category-3 equivalent cyclone, before making landfall in Taiwan, in the early morning of August 8.

Souledor also made a direct strike on Saipan, in the Northern Mariana Islands, and the remnants of this powerful super typhoon flooded China.

Super Typhoon Soudelor made a direct strike on Taiwan on the morning of Aug 8, as a category-3 equivalent cyclone. Tracking Map: Unisys Corporation.

As is common with super typhoons in the Western North Pacific, storm surge levels were modest, but wave heights were tremendous. Such waves often take people by surprise, as in the unfortunate case when a powerful wave from Soudelor swept a woman and her daughter out to sea on the Taiwanese coast (Associated Press 2015).

2. Hurricanes Near Hawaii
August has been a very active month in the Eastern North Pacific. During this month, several hurricanes approached Hawaii, however, none made direct landfall. However, hurricanes Guillermo, Hilda, Kilo and Ignacio all generated high surf on the islands.

As August came to a close, three active hurricanes were centered over the Eastern North Pacific Ocean. These cyclones, especially Ignacio, generated large waves that pounded the Hawaiian Islands. 
Labeled Image: Hal Needham; Base Map with Cyclones: http://earth.nullschool.net/.

3. Typhoon Goni

Typhoon Goni was a powerful cyclone that tracked from east to west, before nearly stalling off the coast of Luzon, in the northern Philippines. Unfortunately, Goni’s surge and high waves pounded the northern Philippines, as the storm stalled off the coast. The typhoon then picked up forward speed and tracked north, putting the islands of Southern Japan, like Okinawa, in the strong sector of this storm. Goni generated storm surge and damaging waves along these islands, as well as mainland Japan, where it made landfall on Aug 25.

Typhoon Goni generated massive waves that slammed into the Philippines and Japan. This image from OneIndia News shows a massive wave crashing into the Japanese coast.

4. Hurricane Fred
Hurricane Fred rapidly intensified into a hurricane while approaching the Cape Verde Islands, off the coast of West Africa. It is rare for a hurricane to develop so far east, and this was the first direct strike from a hurricane in the Cape Verde Islands since 1892 (Masters and Henson 2015).

Video and photos coming from the Cape Verde Islands reveal that Fred did produce a coastal flood event.  A video posted by @zenaidamz on Twitter shows still water inundation (water level above ground) of perhaps 1.5 ft (0.46 m) at a coastal resort on the Island of Sal.

Hurricane Fred inundated this resort, on the Island of Sal, with approximately 1.5 feet (0.46 m) of water.
Video posted by @zenaidamz on Twitter.


1. An extraordinarily powerful coastal flood event slammed Chile’s west coast on August 8. A combination of moderate storm surge and massive waves pounded the coast at Avenida Peru, Vina del Mar, in the region of Valparaiso. Photos and videos of this surge event show waves slamming into cars and buildings.

 A wave slams into cars on Avenida Peru, Vina del Mar, Valparaiso, Chile, in the Aug 8 coastal flood event.
Image/ video source: @MeteoAste on Twitter.


Associated Press, 2015: Typhoon Threatens China After 10 Dead or Missing in Taiwan. The New York Times, August 7, 2015. Link: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/08/07/world/asia/ap-as-asia-typhoon.html?_r=1.

Masters, J., and B. Henson, 2015: Rare Hurricane Pounds Cape Verde Islands. Weather Underground blog post from August 31, 2015. Link: http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=3097.

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