Harvey is striking one of four areas along the U.S. coastline that concern me because they have observed severe hurricanes and storm surges in the past but not in recent history. Weakening is then expected over the weekend while the center moves inland over Texas. Hurricane Harvey reached Category 4 when it made landfall on the coast of Texas in late August 2017. Harvey has struck an area that has observed multiple major hurricane strikes and storm surge events in the past century. It could be the first hurricane to make landfall as a Category 4 since Hurricane Harvey devastated the Gulf Coast in 2017. Tropical storms and hurricanes are capable of widespread devastation when they make landfall. As we can see, all around the storm, the blowing winds result in the water spiraling outwards, away from the core. The National Weather Service warned Wednesday of a potentially “unsurvivable storm surge” up to 15-20 feet in some areas. However, Harvey’s storm surge level in this area is not as rare as we might believe, and it may come in fifth place for all surges since 1919. Hurricane #Harvey continues to pound #PortLavaca #Texas with wind and storm surge. Port Lavaca had observed four storm surges exceeding 13 feet in the past century but nothing higher than 6.9 feet since 1961. Long periods of relative calm often lead us to underestimate our risk. The area south of Charleston concerns me the most, because they were on the “weak” side of Hurricane Hugo (1989) and did not experience Hugo’s massive surge. This blog post provides some insights on Harvey’s storm surge and widespread flood threat. When Hurricane Harvey, a category three hurricane… Currently, according to the U.S. National Weather Service, peak storm surge inundation is expected to reach between 1.8 m and 3.6 m, between Mustang Island and Port O'Connor, and between 1.4 m to 1.8 m south of Mustang Island. The last substantial storm surge in this region occurred in 1921, when a hurricane generated a 10.5-foot surge. Hurricane Harvey is expected to produce storm surge as high as 10-12 feet all along the coast of Texas. Harvey has generated the highest storm surge at Port Lavaca since Hurricane Carla (1961). Storm surge levels closest to Harvey’s center of circulation will be highly variable, depending upon wind direction. “Hurricane” Hal Needham is a storm surge scientist who specializes in data-driven storm surge analysis. Prior to Harvey, four hurricanes have generated storm surges of at least 13 feet at Port Lavaca, but none since Hurricane Carla hit 56 years ago. Harvey became a hurricane later on August 24, and by that night a well-defined eye appeared in infrared satellite pictures. Prior to Harvey, four hurricanes have generated storm surges of at least 13 feet at Port Lavaca, but none since Hurricane Carla hit 56 years ago. At the same time, the rain from Harvey that falls on land will be flowing back down towards the ocean, simply due to the pull of gravity and the local terrain, where it will join with the storm surge, making the flooding even worse. This means the center of circulation has been located, which will improve forecasts. That’s more than any other natural disaster in U.S. history except Hurricane Katrina . But none of them have occurred since Hurricane Allen struck 37 years ago. 9 May 2018: 1; NASA TERRA MODIS INFRARED IMAGE OF HARVEY AT 0419 UTC 26AUGUST 2017 JUST AFTER LANDFALL AS A CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE IN TEXAS. This area is setup for a massive storm surge event with an astronomical impact because the bay is highly developed, with relatively minor flood protection. Harvey is a classic example of why we need to know our hurricane history. Surge could be recorded as far as 30 miles inland. Tornadoes most often are spawned in these bands well east of the circulation. 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