Marine Science Faculty Publications


A Simulation of the Hurricane Charley Storm Surge and its Breach of North Captiva Island

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Hurricane Charley, storm surge, numerical simulation, inlet breach


A high resolution, three-dimensional numerical circulation model with flooding and drying capabilities is used to simulate the Hurricane Charley storm surge in the Charlotte Harbor vicinity. The model-simulated surge is in sufficiently good agreement with observations at four stations for which data exist to allow us to use the model to explain the surge evolution and to account for the inlet breach that occurred at North Captiva Island. Despite Charley being a Saffir-Simpson category 4 hurricane the surge was only of nominal magnitude and hence the damage, while severe, was primarily wind-induced. We explain the relatively small surge on the basis of the direction and speed of approach, the point of landfall to the south of Boca Grande Pass and subsequent translation up the estuary axis, and the collapse of the eye radius as the storm came ashore. These inferences are based on lessons learned from hypothetical hurricane storm surge simulations for Tampa Bay. Under other approach scenarios the potential for hurricane storm surge in the Charlotte Harbor may be catastrophic.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Florida Scientist, v. 69, suppl. 2, p. 152-165