Monday, March 27, 2017

Storm Surge Levels Rising along Queensland Coast

Tropical Cyclone Debbie Update
0230 AEST Tue Mar 28
1630 UTC Mon Mar 27

Storm surge starting to push in from Bowen to Dalrymple Bay. Storm surge at Laguna Quays has reached 1.2 m (3.94 ft) and surge levels at Bowen, Mackay and Dalrymple have all surpassed 0.5 m (1.64 ft).


The highest recorded storm surge level so far is the 1.2 m (3.94 ft) surge at Laguna Quays. This water level is tied for the 37th highest storm surge event in Queensland since 1880.


Although the storm surge is building in these areas, total water levels are falling because high tide has passed. The good news is that these locations made it through high tide without the water level surpassing Highest Astronomical Tide (HAT). This means that Debbie's water level did not exceed the "highest" high tides under normal (non-storm) conditions.


Storm surge levels were rising at Laguna Quays, QLD, after 2AM Tuesday morning, but total water levels were decreasing as the time of high tide had passed. Data source: https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/coasts-waterways/beach/storm-sites/laguna-quays/....annotations provided by Dr. Hal Needham.

The area of greatest concern is the north-facing coast east of Bowen. This area is observing lower-than-normal water levels as Debbie approaches, but as soon as the eye passes, intense winds from the north will quickly push a tsunami-like storm surge into this coastline. Anyone sheltering lower than 3 m (10 ft) above sea level in this area should beware.


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