Mr. McGehee has been actively measuring and analyzing hurricane storm surge since 1980’s when he obtained one of the first reliable surge elevation measurements of overland surge from a gage installed during Hurricane Kate in 1985. He has designed, installed, and operated hundreds of gages for measuring surge, and recovered the data from the first accurate surge histogram of a major storm (Hurricane Ivan) ever measured in shallow water.
Impacts of Hurricane Katrina on MS and LA Coastal Structures
“Two Tempests: A Case Study on Capturing Nearshore Hurricane Wave Conditions,”
“Pensacola Small Boat Harbor Channel Investigation,”
“A High-reliability System for Capturing Hurricane Wave Data,”
"New Technology in Coastal Wave Monitoring
Storm Surge Definition: A rise above the normal water level along a shore caused by strong onshore winds and/or reduced atmospheric pressure of a storm system. The surge height is the difference of the observed water level minus the predicted tide. For hurricanes, it can be 50 or more miles wide and sweeps across the coastline around where the hurricane makes landfall. It is usually highest near the radius of maximum winds on the right side of the storm’s center, but is strongly affected by the local nearshore bathymetry. For Example, Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina were approximately the same size and intensity. Hurricane Ivan came ashore at the relatively straight, relatively steep coastline of east Alabama/northwest Florida, and caused a maximum storm surge on the open coast over 12 ft near Pensacola Beach, some 30 miles to the right of landfall. As Hurricane Katrina came ashore, the Mississippi River delta on the left funneled the surge over the shallow Mississippi Sound, resulting in storm surges of nearly 30 ft on the Mississippi coast. The storm surge can also double or more in height when the hurricane's track causes it to funnel water into a bay. Hurricane Ivan’s surge elevation 15 miles from the coast at the back of Escambia Bay, which functioned like a miniature Bay of Fundy, was several ft higher than on the beach The storm surge increases substantially as it approaches the land because the normal water depth decreases rapidly as it approaches the beaches. The moving water contains the same amount of energy; thus, resulting in an increase of storm surge. Typically, the stronger the hurricane, the greater the storm surge. Most hurricane deaths are caused by the storm surge.