Tropical cyclones are amongst the world’s most deadly and destructive natural hazards. Globally, population explosions in coastline regions will only serve to place more communities in harm’s way. The impact of wind and rain are only part of the picture. Often the associated storm surge results in as much or more damage. The magnitude of the resulting storm surge is dependent on local geographical and bathymetric features, as well as storm characteristics including intensity, size, translational speed, and the direction in which the storm approaches the coast at landfall. The lack of availability of observations and accuracy of these properties prior to landfall, and the limitations in the characterization of the storm wind structure make the understanding and prediction of storm surge challenging. These limitations highlight the importance of understanding the contribution of each cyclone parameter to the resulting storm surge.
When tropical cyclones make landfall, the wind angle can come from any direction and the storm surge will be dependent on the relative position of the wind to the coastline. During Hurricane Sandy (USA, 2012) the storm surge at Kings Point reached a max of 3.86m since the wind direction here aligned with Long Island Sound (LIS). Specifically, the cyclone track was perpendicular to the coast, with its strongest winds directed along LIS and the New York Harbor.
In this paper, we mainly focus on the influence of the cyclone’s angle of incidence, with respect to the coast, in the resulting storm surge. We implement a novel approach using newly developed modeling capabilities that not only dynamically links the processes associated with storm surge, improving upon current practices, but also allows us to study each process independently.