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S. Bunya
,
J. C. Dietrich
,
J. J. Westerink
,
B. A. Ebersole
,
J. M. Smith
,
J. H. Atkinson
,
R. Jensen
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D. T. Resio
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R. A. Luettich
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C. Dawson
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V. J. Cardone
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A. T. Cox
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M. D. Powell
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H. J. Westerink
, and
H. J. Roberts

Abstract

A coupled system of wind, wind wave, and coastal circulation models has been implemented for southern Louisiana and Mississippi to simulate riverine flows, tides, wind waves, and hurricane storm surge in the region. The system combines the NOAA Hurricane Research Division Wind Analysis System (H*WIND) and the Interactive Objective Kinematic Analysis (IOKA) kinematic wind analyses, the Wave Model (WAM) offshore and Steady-State Irregular Wave (STWAVE) nearshore wind wave models, and the Advanced Circulation (ADCIRC) basin to channel-scale unstructured grid circulation model. The system emphasizes a high-resolution (down to 50 m) representation of the geometry, bathymetry, and topography; nonlinear coupling of all processes including wind wave radiation stress-induced set up; and objective specification of frictional parameters based on land-cover databases and commonly used parameters. Riverine flows and tides are validated for no storm conditions, while winds, wind waves, hydrographs, and high water marks are validated for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

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J. C. Dietrich
,
S. Bunya
,
J. J. Westerink
,
B. A. Ebersole
,
J. M. Smith
,
J. H. Atkinson
,
R. Jensen
,
D. T. Resio
,
R. A. Luettich
,
C. Dawson
,
V. J. Cardone
,
A. T. Cox
,
M. D. Powell
,
H. J. Westerink
, and
H. J. Roberts

Abstract

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were powerful storms that impacted southern Louisiana and Mississippi during the 2005 hurricane season. In , the authors describe and validate a high-resolution coupled riverine flow, tide, wind, wave, and storm surge model for this region. Herein, the model is used to examine the evolution of these hurricanes in more detail. Synoptic histories show how storm tracks, winds, and waves interacted with the topography, the protruding Mississippi River delta, east–west shorelines, manmade structures, and low-lying marshes to develop and propagate storm surge. Perturbations of the model, in which the waves are not included, show the proportional importance of the wave radiation stress gradient induced setup.

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J. C. Dietrich
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J. J. Westerink
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A. B. Kennedy
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J. M. Smith
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R. E. Jensen
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M. Zijlema
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L. H. Holthuijsen
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C. Dawson
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R. A. Luettich Jr.
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M. D. Powell
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V. J. Cardone
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A. T. Cox
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G. W. Stone
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H. Pourtaheri
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M. E. Hope
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S. Tanaka
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L. G. Westerink
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H. J. Westerink
, and
Z. Cobell

Abstract

Hurricane Gustav (2008) made landfall in southern Louisiana on 1 September 2008 with its eye never closer than 75 km to New Orleans, but its waves and storm surge threatened to flood the city. Easterly tropical-storm-strength winds impacted the region east of the Mississippi River for 12–15 h, allowing for early surge to develop up to 3.5 m there and enter the river and the city’s navigation canals. During landfall, winds shifted from easterly to southerly, resulting in late surge development and propagation over more than 70 km of marshes on the river’s west bank, over more than 40 km of Caernarvon marsh on the east bank, and into Lake Pontchartrain to the north. Wind waves with estimated significant heights of 15 m developed in the deep Gulf of Mexico but were reduced in size once they reached the continental shelf. The barrier islands further dissipated the waves, and locally generated seas existed behind these effective breaking zones.

The hardening and innovative deployment of gauges since Hurricane Katrina (2005) resulted in a wealth of measured data for Gustav. A total of 39 wind wave time histories, 362 water level time histories, and 82 high water marks were available to describe the event. Computational models—including a structured-mesh deepwater wave model (WAM) and a nearshore steady-state wave (STWAVE) model, as well as an unstructured-mesh “simulating waves nearshore” (SWAN) wave model and an advanced circulation (ADCIRC) model—resolve the region with unprecedented levels of detail, with an unstructured mesh spacing of 100–200 m in the wave-breaking zones and 20–50 m in the small-scale channels. Data-assimilated winds were applied using NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division Wind Analysis System (H*Wind) and Interactive Objective Kinematic Analysis (IOKA) procedures. Wave and surge computations from these models are validated comprehensively at the measurement locations ranging from the deep Gulf of Mexico and along the coast to the rivers and floodplains of southern Louisiana and are described and quantified within the context of the evolution of the storm.

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