Storm surge barriers: the New England experience

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:22 PM GMT on November 25, 2011

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Back in 1938, long before satellites, radar, the hurricane hunters, and the modern weather forecasting system, the great New England hurricane of 1938 roared northwards into Long Island, New York at 60 mph, pushing a storm surge more than 15 feet high to the coast. Hundreds of Americans died in this greatest Northeast U.S. hurricane on record, the strongest hurricane to hit the Northeast since the 1800s. A destructive storm surge of 13 feet (4 meters) barreled though Long Island Sound into Stamford, Connecticut, inundating the downtown region and causing heavy damage ($6 million in 1938 dollars.) Sixteen years later, a storm surge from Hurricane Carol of 1954 inundated the city again, causing $3.4 million in damage. In response to these twin storm surge disasters, work was begun in 1965 on a 17-foot high, $14 million (1965 dollars) hurricane barrier. Completed in 1969, the barrier across Stamford Harbor is high enough to protect the city from a storm surge of 14.8 feet above mean sea level. Had the barrier been in place during Hurricane Carol, the Army Corps of Engineers estimates damage to Stamford could have been reduced by 85%.


Figure 1. Bedford Street looking south towards Broad Street in Stamford, Connecticut, after the Great New England Hurricane of 1938. Image credit: stamfordhistory.org.


Figure 2. The storm surge from Category 2 Hurricane Carol in 1954 batters the Edgewood Yacht Club near Providence, Rhode Island. Image credit: NOAA Photo Library.

The Providence storm surge barrier
Stamford isn't the only New England city that suffered destructive storm surges from the 1938 and 1954 hurricanes. The 1938 hurricane brought a storm surge that covered the commercial district of Providence, Rhode Island with 8 feet (2.5 m) of water, causing $16.3 million in damage. On August 31, 1954, Hurricane Carol produced a storm surge of up to 14.4 feet (4.4 m) in Narragansett Bay, surpassing that of the New England Hurricane of 1938. The resulting storm surge flooded downtown Providence with 12 feet (3.7 m) of water. Some entire coastal communities were nearly destroyed, and damage was estimated at $25.1 million. In response to the devastation wrought by these storms, a $15 million hurricane barrier 25 feet (7.6 m) high was built across the 1000-foot (300 m) entrance to Providence Harbor between 1961 - 1966.


Figure 3. A ship passes through the Providence, Rhode Island storm surge barrier. Image credit: Douglas Hill, EngScD, P.E., Stony Brook University.

The New Bedford storm surge barrier
New Bedford, Massachusetts lies near the end of a narrow bay, and narrow bays and river estuaries can act as funnels that focus storm surges to extreme heights if the hurricane's direction of motion is aligned so that the surge propagates up the bottleneck. In fact, the shape of the coast near New Bedford makes it the most vulnerable portion of the U.S. coast for a hurricane storm surge. The highest theoretical storm surge produced by NOAA's SLOSH model for the U.S. is 38.5 feet above mean sea level, for a Category 4 hurricane hitting New Bedford. Destructive storm surges hit New Bedford during the 1938 hurricane and 1954's Hurricane Carol, the latter storm causing $8.3 million in flood damages. A hurricane barrier 23 feet (7 m) high and 4900 feet (1500 m) long across New Bedford Harbor was completed in 1966 at a cost of $19 million (1966 dollars.) The barrier separates the New Bedford Harbor from Buzzard's Bay, and successfully kept out the 8 foot (2.5 m) storm surge from Hurricane Bob in 1991, and a 6.5 foot (2 m) surge from the January 1997 Nor'easter.


Figure 4.The 4,900 foot-long New Bedford, Massachusetts storm surge barrier as seen using Google Earth. The city of New Bedford lies to the north (top) of this image.


Figure 5.The four regions of the U.S. theoretically prone to storm surges in excess of 33 feet at the coast. These Maximum of the Maximum Envelope Of Waters (MOM) SLOSH model plots are for a maximum strength hurricane hitting at high tide. A theoretical peak storm surge of 33 - 34 feet (pink colors) is predicted by the SLOSH model for New York City near the JFK Airport (upper left), for the Big Bend region of the Florida Gulf Coast (lower right), and for the Intracoastal Waterway north of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (lower left). The highest theoretical surge occurs at New Bedford, Massachusetts (upper right): 38.5 feet for a Category 4 hurricane.

More storm surge barriers needed
Storm surge barriers in Stamford, New Bedford, and Providence have already proved their worth and prevented damages more than the cost of their construction. For example, the Stamford barrier kept out the storm surge from the December 1992 Nor'easter, which neighboring New York City suffered storm surge flooding of it subway system and roads that caused hundreds of millions in damage. Similar barriers in the Netherlands and England's Thames River have also proved their worth, and multi-billion dollar storm surge barriers are nearing completion in St. Petersburg, Russia and the Venice Lagoon in Italy. Many more such barriers will be needed world-wide in the coming decades, because of sea level rise.
Sea level rose an average of 7 inches (18 cm) during the 20th century. The 2007 report of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted global sea level rise of 0.6 - 1.9 feet (18 - 59 cm) by 2100--excluding the contribution from melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Several studies published since that report predict much higher levels of sea level increase will occur if one includes the melting from Greenland and Antarctica, For example, a 2008 paper published by Pfeffer et al. in Science concluded that the "most likely" range of sea level rise by 2100 is 2.6 - 6.6 feet (80 - 200 cm.) If these higher sea level rise estimates prove correct, storm surge damage could easily double of triple, particularly if climate change makes the strongest storms stronger. A Report to Congress by FEMA (1991) estimated that existing development on the U.S. coast would experience a 36 - 58% increase in annual damages for a 1-foot rise in sea level, and a 102 - 200% increase for a 3-foot rise. Much of this additional damage would result from storm surges riding on top of heightened sea levels. As I'll report on in future blog posts in this series, even if the sea level does not rise this century, there are three locations along the U.S. coast that should immediately begin planning to install hurricane storm surge barriers: New York City, Galveston/Houston, and Tampa Bay.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting weatherh98:


Que asco

Can't post that type of radar.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30245
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

That's so not fair, everybody else's got to stay. :(


true but theres was kind of nature-ish
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Que asco
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Quoting TomTaylor:
What was your background a picture of? Just curious cuz the pic got removed lol

That's so not fair, everybody else's got to stay. :(
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30245
Quoting CybrTeddy:


Never cared much for the Potter romances, kinda like how I never cared much for the whole Han and Leia thing in the original star wars movies. All about the action for me, wizard battles and lightsaber fights, ect.


good point but we prolly should try and get on topic now...

SOUTHERN NOVEMBER SNOW!!!!!
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Quoting TomTaylor:
ah ms watson

Always thought that the author should of had Hermione with Harry, not Ron...He's the top wizard, not Ron. Never understood that.


Never cared much for the Potter romances, kinda like how I never cared much for the whole Han and Leia thing in the original star wars movies. All about the action for me, wizard battles and lightsaber fights, ect.
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Quoting interstatelover7165:
Weather Weenie lol


ur name makes me wanna take a back road
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Quoting TomTaylor:
ah ms watson

Always thought that the author should of had Hermione with Harry, not Ron...He's the top wizard, not Ron. Never understood that.


Ik that was predictable harry could have done better than ginny haha
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Quoting Patrap:
Lets roll Weather Weenie's




SPC Nov 26, 2011 2000Z Experimental Thunderstorm Outlook
Sat Nov 26 19:14:03 UTC 2011







Note: The experimental thunder probabilities take into account both the expected areal coverage and probability for thunder to occur. Therefore, a 40% probability means that given similar environmental conditions, thunder would be observed at any one location (in either a county or city) within the 40% thunder probability area four times out of ten, or 40% of the time.
Weather Weenie lol
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 994


The 12z GFS traps a pocket of warm air over SE Ontario while the tail-end low retrogrades over the Great Lakes. Look how close the -10C and +10C isotherms are (a 36F difference)!
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Did I just hear somebody insult Canada?!?!?!
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Quoting weatherh98:


harry potter ron weasley and aa very hot hermione granger
ah ms watson

Always thought that the author should of had Hermione with Harry, not Ron...He's the top wizard, not Ron. Never understood that.
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here is a better one
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The rap around precip. is most likely snow
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Quoting TomTaylor:
What was your background a picture of? Just curious cuz the pic got removed lol


harry potter ron weasley and aa very hot hermione granger
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Completely off-topic, but look at my awesome desktop background ;)
What was your background a picture of? Just curious cuz the pic got removed lol
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Quoting petewxwatcher:
I thought this was really cool. The brinicle of death! Caused by brine draining from sea ice forming.

This is the first 'brinicle' ever filmed while it formed.




Very cool vid, thanks for sharing


here it is again for those who missed it

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Nasty
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Lake Charles, La.

Nowcast as of 1:54 PM CST on November 26, 2011


A broken band of showers and a few thunderstorms will advance east around 15 mph across southeast TX into western la. The leading edge of this activity will reach a Gardner to Longville to Nederland line through 3 PM...with an extensive area of mostly moderate rain occurring behind this line. The stronger storms will be capable of producing wind gusts to 25 mph...brief heavy rain with rates of up to an inch per hour and occasional cloud to ground lightning. Ahead of this line...scattered showers will develop and move northeast across portions of central and southern Louisiana. Scattered showers and thunderstorms will also develop and move east over the coastal waters out to 60 nm west of Cameron.

Read more - http://po.st/UvIODQ
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Lets roll Weather Weenie's




SPC Nov 26, 2011 2000Z Experimental Thunderstorm Outlook
Sat Nov 26 19:14:03 UTC 2011







Note: The experimental thunder probabilities take into account both the expected areal coverage and probability for thunder to occur. Therefore, a 40% probability means that given similar environmental conditions, thunder would be observed at any one location (in either a county or city) within the 40% thunder probability area four times out of ten, or 40% of the time.
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Home
SPC Products
All SPC Forecasts


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..east winds increasing here in Uptown NOLA near Audubon Park as the system approaches. Low Scud and cumulus from the east as well.

Tropical almost...

WEBCAM: River Bend, Algiers Point. Or the "Crescent turn".
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Quoting Cotillion:


They're more used to it than anyone else on this archipelago, but seems 'windstorm season' has started.

Salutations :) Hope all is well.
We are about to get some really wet weather here in Middle Tennessee..Could have watches and advisories up soon. Yes sir, those wankers up there do get whacked with the rough stuff quite a bit.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19504
Quoting hydrus:
Time for the Scots to break out there sticks and get gnarly in the soup..Hello Cott..:)


They're more used to it than anyone else on this archipelago, but seems 'windstorm season' has started.

Salutations :) Hope all is well.
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
Quoting Cotillion:
"Severe gale and storm force winds are set to hit the north east and far north of Scotland overnight, forecasters have warned.

The westerly winds are expected to reach up to 80mph in parts of Grampian, the Highlands and Orkney and Shetland.

The Met Office has issued an Amber alert for the areas, from after midnight through until Sunday morning.

Gusting winds could cause structural damage to buildings, cut power supplies in exposed areas and disrupt travel.

The Met Office said there was a slight chance winds could reach up to 95mph for a short time early on Sunday morning." Link

All from a 971mb low, but well tuned up.

Looks like it's going to be pretty windy all weekend into maybe Tuesday.
Time for the Scots to break out there sticks and get gnarly in the soup..Hello Cott..:)
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19504
"Severe gale and storm force winds are set to hit the north east and far north of Scotland overnight, forecasters have warned.

The westerly winds are expected to reach up to 80mph in parts of Grampian, the Highlands and Orkney and Shetland.

The Met Office has issued an Amber alert for the areas, from after midnight through until Sunday morning.

Gusting winds could cause structural damage to buildings, cut power supplies in exposed areas and disrupt travel.

The Met Office said there was a slight chance winds could reach up to 95mph for a short time early on Sunday morning." Link

All from a 971mb low, but well tuned up.

Looks like it's going to be pretty windy all weekend into maybe Tuesday.
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
Quoting washingtonian115:
I'm on folks!.(Starts waiting for people to dissapear.)

Alright guys, she's here! Everybody move out!

I'm just joking. :P
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ESL by LSU


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Quoting washingtonian115:
I'm on folks!.(Starts waiting for people to dissapear.)



I'm Out!


(jk)

Not a whole lot around anyway Wash.
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.."I can be happy the rest of my life with a Cinnamon Girl"..
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I'm on folks!.(Starts waiting for people to dissapear.)
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Quoting Grothar:


I don't know why they didn't send up a camera crew first, so they could film the whole thing.


Perhaps he will have his camera ready?

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Coasting at 25,000mph? Nope, that's escape velocity. By the time an escape-velocity object reaches the orbital height of the Moon, it'd have lost 98to99% of its speed-relative-to-Earth to hauling itself up Earth's gravity well; be traveling somewhere between 250to500mph.

Last I heard, Curiosity will be coasting toward Mars-orbit at an average*speed of ~3,200mph after achieving escape. Equivalent to having a launch velocity in the neighborhood of 28,200mph, assuming ballistic(unpowered)flight after launch.

* Mars orbit is higher relative to the Sun than Earth orbit. So that average includes the gradual speed-loss as Curiosity climbs up the Sun's gravity well.
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Quoting Dakster:


Coasting along at 25,000 MPH?

I hope they have a camera angle to capture the landing on mars. That should be quite a show.


I don't know why they didn't send up a camera crew first, so they could film the whole thing.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23703
Quoting Dakster:


Coasting along at 25,000 MPH?

I hope they have a camera angle to capture the landing on mars. That should be quite a show.

Well, Earth coasts (or falls, if you prefer) around the sun at nearly three times that speed (c. 67,000 mph). And, of course, our solar system orbits the center of the Milky Way at nearly 500,000 mph. The real speed winner, however: the Milky Way is moving toward a galactic cluster in Virgo at a little over 1.34 million miles per hour, or more than 52 times faster than the MSL is creeping toward Mars. If the MSL were moving as fast, it'd reach Mars day after tomorrow. ;-)

There are HD cameras on both the lander and the rover that are designed to relay video of the landing from several different angles. If all goes well, the videos should be some of the most amazing and exciting ones to ever come out of the space program (and that's saying a lot).
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Quoting sunlinepr:


The complete operation to land is quite complex, with too many steps... previous rovers landing procedure was simpler.....

Thanks for the NASA video describing the landing,Pat. I was thinking it is an extremely complex device, too. Quite an ambitious project.
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wake up blog lol
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
If this winter is like the last few, the GFS will be giving us "phantom" snowstorms into the deep-south on a fairly regular basis from now through the end of February.
Quoting xcool:


gfs 6Z MODEL
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Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9648
WHO warns of untreatable tuberculosis - ABC news Link

The World Health Organisation is warning of the potential for an untreatable form of tuberculosis to develop on Australia's doorstep.
It says infections of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) in Papua New Guinea's remote south-west have reached crisis levels.

The country's health minister says tuberculosis is now a greater health emergency than HIV/AIDS.
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9648
Quoting Patrap:


Previous Lander's didnt weigh a Metric Ton.





Anyhow the mission is moving perfectly...

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9648
180. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #3
============================

Additional Information
---------------------

According to satellite imagery, the Dvorak intensity of the system is T1.5. The convection shows no significant change during past 12 hours. The lowest cloud top temperature is about -85C. Associated broken intense to very intense convection is seen over area between 5.5N to 11.0N and 68.0E to 76.0E.

3 minute sustained winds near the center is 25 knots with a central pressure of 1000 hPa. The state of the sea is rough to very rough around the system. Amini Divi to the northwest of system reported surface low pressure of 1001.9 hPa with winds of 30 knots; Minicoy reported surface low pressure of 1002.3 hPa. Pressure tendency is about -2 to -3 hPa over Lakshadweep area.

The Madden-Julian Oscillation index currently lies over phase 2 with amplitude more than 1. As per the dynamical and statistical models, it would lie over the same phase or phase 3 during next 3-4 days. Phase 2 and 3 are favorable for genesis and intensification of the system over the Arabian Sea. Sea surface temperature is 28-29C. The ocean heat content is less (70-80 kj/cm2) over southeast and east central Arabian Sea and less than 40 kj/cm2 over west central and north Arabian Sea. The relative vorticity at 850 hPa level and upper level divergence are favorable for intensification. The vertical win shear of horizontal wind over the region is favorable as it is low to moderate (10-20 kts). There is negative (5-10 kts) 24 hours tendency of vertical wind shear around the system. The system lies to the south of upper tropospheric ridge, which roughly runs along 16.0N in association with an anticyclonic circulation over southeast peninsular India and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 48 Comments: 43649
Coastal Flood Statement

Statement as of 5:14 AM CST on November 26, 2011

The combination of high seasonal tides and moderate onshore winds will produce above normal tides again tonight. This may cause minor coastal inundation of low lying areas outside of hurricane protection levees for a few hours around the time of high tide.

High tide is predicted during the evening hours to just after midnight tonight. The affected areas will be the lowest lying... coastal shell roads...and community roads and ditches near the coast from near Waveland Mississippi to Port Fourchon Louisiana.
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Quoting Patrap:


Previous Lander's didnt weigh a Metric Ton.





Looks like an act from Cirque Du Soleil.

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Quoting sunlinepr:


The complete operation to land is quite complex, with too many steps... previous rovers landing procedure was simpler.....


Previous Lander's didnt weigh a Metric Ton.



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Quoting Patrap:
MECO-2

Opportunity and her Bus now in coast phase till Mars Arrival in 8 months.




Coasting along at 25,000 MPH?

I hope they have a camera angle to capture the landing on mars. That should be quite a show.
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Quoting Patrap:
Uploaded by VideoFromSpace on Jun 27, 2011

Animated chronicle of the Mars Science Laboratory touchdown on the red planet and the science it will perform. Credit: NASA/JPL - To View More Videos About the NEW MARS ROVER - Go to: http://www.space.com/13607-curiosity-suv-mars-rove rs.html



The complete operation to land is quite complex, with too many steps... previous rovers landing procedure was simpler.....
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9648
Good morning!

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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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