Rapidly installed temporary gauging for hurricane waves and surge, and application to Hurricane Gustav

Andrew B. Kennedy, Uriah Gravois, Brian Zachry, Rick Luettich, Tony Whipple, Robert Weaver, Janelle Reynolds-Fleming, Qin J. Chen, Roni Avissar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hurricanes can produce extreme nearshore waves and surge, but permanent gauging stations are often much sparser than is desired. This paper describes the rationale behind and outline for rapidly installed temporary coastal gauges, and presents results during Hurricane Gustav (2008). Within 48. h prior to landfall, twenty self-recording pressure gauges were deployed in depths of 1.4-23. m over more than 700. km of coastline, using helicopters to cover the large distances. Results showed a complex picture that was strongly dependent on location. East of the Mississippi Delta, open coast waves were large, and surge reached 3.8. m NAVD88 in marshes. West of the delta but near landfall, waves and surge were generally smaller as the river levees blocked flow from East to West. West of landfall, both waves and surge were very small and the most prominent feature was a water level drawdown that reached 1.5. m. Wave spectra varied strongly depending both on location and time from landfall. This type of rapid gauging program is straightforward to duplicate: with multiple localized deployment centers to ensure coverage, dense nearshore hurricane wave and surge records could increase substantially in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1743-1752
Number of pages10
JournalContinental Shelf Research
Issue number16
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Hurricanes
  • Storm surge
  • Water waves
  • Wave spectra

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Geology


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