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A cross-scale study for compound flooding processes during Hurricane Florence

, , , Saeed Moghimi, Edward Myers, Shachak Pe'Eri, Hao-Cheng Yu
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences , Volume 21, pp 1703-1719; doi:10.5194/nhess-21-1703-2021

Abstract: We study the compound flooding processes that occurred in Hurricane Florence (2018), which was accompanied by heavy precipitation, using a 3D creek-to-ocean hydrodynamic model. We examine the important role played by barrier islands in the observed compound surges in the coastal watershed. Locally very high resolution is used in some watershed areas in order to resolve small features that turn out to be critical for capturing the observed high water marks locally. The wave effects are found to be significant near barrier islands and have contributed to some observed over-toppings and breaches. Results from sensitivity tests applying each of the three major forcing factors (oceanic, fluvial, and pluvial) separately are succinctly summarized in a “dominance map” that highlights significant compound effects in most of the affected coastal watersheds, estuaries, and back bays behind the barrier islands. Operational forecasts based on the current model are being set up at NOAA to help coastal resource and emergency managers with disaster planning and mitigation efforts.
Keywords: model / compound / barrier islands / flooding / watershed / coastal / Hurricane Florence
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