17 Oct 2023
 | 17 Oct 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Estuarine hurricane wind can intensify surge-dominated extreme water level in shallow and converging coastal systems

Mithun Deb, James Benedict, Ning Sun, Zhaoqing Yang, Robert Hetland, David Judi, and Taiping Wang

Abstract. Based on the projected increase in hurricane landfall frequency on the middle to lower U.S. East Coast, we examined the crucial role of the estuarine wind field in exacerbating coastal flooding. A regionally refined atmospheric and two high-resolution hydrology and ocean models are integrated to provide plausible and physically-consistent ensembles of hurricane events and the associated flooding inside the Delaware Bay and River, a U.S. mid-Atlantic estuary. Model results show that the hurricane propagation direction, estuarine geometry, remote surge from the open ocean, and direct nearshore upwind stress could magnify the flood magnitude. More specifically, inland-bound tracks that make landfall before reaching the mid-Atlantic coast produce a more significant surge within Delaware Bay than the shore-parallel tracks, where the estuarine wind direction plays the primary role in surge amplification. Ultimately, this study emphasized the need for integrated models to capture the nonlinear dynamics and interactions in flood hazard modeling.

Mithun Deb et al.

Status: open (until 24 Dec 2023)

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Mithun Deb et al.

Mithun Deb et al.


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Short summary
We coupled earth system, hydrology, and hydrodynamic models to generate plausible and physically consistent ensembles of hurricane events and their associated water levels from the open coast to tidal rivers of Delaware Bay and River. Our results show that the hurricane landfall locations and the estuarine wind can significantly amplify the extreme surge in a shallow and converging system, especially when the wind direction aligns with the surge propagation direction.