Hurricane surge determinations on the Texas coast and in Galveston Bay




Woodward, J.W.

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District.


Prediction of storm surges for hurricanes of various degrees of severity is required for both the design and economic analyses of protective structures proposed for the prevention of hurricane flood damages. The phenomenon of storm tide rise along the coast, as described by the Bathystrophic Storm Tide theory, is caused by: (1) the direct stress of the wind on the surface of the water (combined wind stress effect) and (2) the additional effect created by the wind stress due to the Coriolis force (Bathystrophic effect). The alongshore wind component or wind blowing parallel to the coast causes a rise in the water level at the coast as a result of the Coriolis effect, which produces a deflection of flow to the right in the northern hemisphere. Hence, as the cyclonic counterclockwise wind system approaches the Texas coast a rise in the mean water level is experienced. As the hurricane eye and region of maximum winds pass the coast, the water level begins to recede back to normal due to the lesser velocity wind acting on the water surface.


15 pgs.


hurricanes, flooding, storm surge prediction, storm surges, coriolis force, velocity, hurricane waves