The Impact of Hurricane Andrew on the Near-Surface Marine Environment in the Bahamas and the Gulf of Mexico

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  • 1 NOAA/National Weather Service, NMC, Washington, D.C.
  • | 2 NOAA/National Ocean Service, Silver Spring, Maryland
  • | 3 Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
  • | 4 General Sciences Corp., Laurel, Maryland
  • | 5 NOAA/National Ocean Service, Silver Spring, Maryland
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Abstract

Hurricane Andrew was a relatively small but intense hurricane that passed through the Bahamas, across the Florida Peninsula, and across the Gulf of Mexico between 23 and 26 August 1992. The characteristics of this hurricane primarily beyond its core are summarized using 1) marine observations from three National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) buoys and three Coastal-Marine Automated Network stations close to the storm track; 2) water levels and storm surge at 15 locations in the Bahamas, around the coast of Florida, and along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico; 3) currents, temperatures, and salinities at a depth of 11 m in the northern Gulf; and 4) spatial analyses of sea surface temperature (SST) before and after the passage of Andrew.

Sea level pressure, wind direction, wind speed, wind gust, air temperature, and the surface wave field were strongly influenced at locations generally within 100 km of the hurricane track. Maximum sustained winds of 75 m s−1 occurred just north of the storm track near Miami (Fowey Rocks). Significant wave height increased from 1 to 6.4 m at one NDBC buoy in the Gulf of Mexico (25.9°N, 85.9°N). A record high water level occurred at North Miami Beach. Decreases in water level occurred along the west coast of Florida with a maximum negative surge of −1.2 m at Naples. Increases in water level occurred along the Gulf coast between the Florida panhandle and Louisiana where a storm surge of +1.2 m was observed at Bay Waveland, Mississippi. Current speeds at one shallow water location along the hurricane track in the northern Gulf (28.4°N, 90.5°W) increased from ∼15 to almost 140 cm s−1 at a depth of 11 m during passage of the storm. Finally, SSTs decreased by up to 3°C at various locations along the hurricane track.

Abstract

Hurricane Andrew was a relatively small but intense hurricane that passed through the Bahamas, across the Florida Peninsula, and across the Gulf of Mexico between 23 and 26 August 1992. The characteristics of this hurricane primarily beyond its core are summarized using 1) marine observations from three National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) buoys and three Coastal-Marine Automated Network stations close to the storm track; 2) water levels and storm surge at 15 locations in the Bahamas, around the coast of Florida, and along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico; 3) currents, temperatures, and salinities at a depth of 11 m in the northern Gulf; and 4) spatial analyses of sea surface temperature (SST) before and after the passage of Andrew.

Sea level pressure, wind direction, wind speed, wind gust, air temperature, and the surface wave field were strongly influenced at locations generally within 100 km of the hurricane track. Maximum sustained winds of 75 m s−1 occurred just north of the storm track near Miami (Fowey Rocks). Significant wave height increased from 1 to 6.4 m at one NDBC buoy in the Gulf of Mexico (25.9°N, 85.9°N). A record high water level occurred at North Miami Beach. Decreases in water level occurred along the west coast of Florida with a maximum negative surge of −1.2 m at Naples. Increases in water level occurred along the Gulf coast between the Florida panhandle and Louisiana where a storm surge of +1.2 m was observed at Bay Waveland, Mississippi. Current speeds at one shallow water location along the hurricane track in the northern Gulf (28.4°N, 90.5°W) increased from ∼15 to almost 140 cm s−1 at a depth of 11 m during passage of the storm. Finally, SSTs decreased by up to 3°C at various locations along the hurricane track.

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