Hurricane Ian Response

The first storm response of the NOPP Hurricane Coastal Impacts (NHCI) project was to Hurricane Ian, which proved to be challenging but essential to document such a large and destructive storm. With the rapid intensification and large swath of potential impacts of the storm, the land-based deployment of sensor transects was limited, but overall the deployment was successful.

Task 3B met our project objectives to rapidly deploy water level and wave sensors in cross-shore transects, spanning offshore to inland, to collect data for model validation, following a short but effective timeline:

Fri – Sep 23, 2022

  • National Hurricane Center (NHC) began issuing advisories for (what would become) Hurricane Ian
  • Task 3B began planning for land-based sensor deployments at piers along the Florida Gulf coast

Sat – Sep 26, 2022

  • Continued monitoring storm and initiated communication with other agencies and NHCI teams

Sun – Sep 25, 2022

  • Based on current forecast track and timing, Task 3B decided to deploy at:

          1) Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach, Florida

          2) M.B. Miller County Pier in Panama City Beach, Florida

  • A 2-person team from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) drove equipment from North Carolina to Clearwater, Florida
Map of sensor transect locations planned on Sunday, September 25 – 3 days before Hurricane Ian made landfall, and (inset) the current NHC advisory used in the decision-making process.

Mon - Sep 26, 2022

  • USGS team deployed cross-shore sensor transect at Clearwater Beach, Florida, including:

          (1) Sofar Spotter Buoy+Smart Mooring (pre-deployed by USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center in 20m depth offshore of Madeira Beach,           about 15mile south)

          (1) water level radar / Rapid Deployment Gage

          (6) pressure sensors (8 Hz) / Wave Height Sensors

          (1)  weather station / Meteorological Sensor

  • USGS team drove equipment to Panama City Beach, Florida

Tue – Sep 27, 2022

  • USGS team deployed cross-shore sensor transect at Panama City Beach, Florida, including:

          (1) Sofar Spotter Buoy+Smart Mooring (pre-deployed by Sofar in 30m depth offshore of pier)

          (1) water level radar / Rapid Deployment Gage

          (2) pressure sensors (8 Hz) / Wave Height Sensors

  • USGS team drove to safety in Georgia, then on to home in North Carolina
Cross-shore transect of water level and wave sensors deployed at (top) Clearwater Beach, Florida on Monday, September 26 - 2 days before Hurricane Ian made landfall, and at (bottom) Panama City Beach, Florida on Tuesday, September 27 – 1 day before landfall. Radar at end-of-pier (aka Rapid Deployment Gage, blue), weather station (green) and Sofar Spotter Buoy+Smart Mooring transmitted average data in real-time, and fast-sampling pressure sensors (8 Hz, purple) recorded data internally, and all is available on the USGS Flood Event Viewer.

Wed – Sep 28, 2022

  • Hurricane Ian made landfall as a strong Category 4 just north of Ft Myers, Florida

Hurricane Ian continued east and north, impacting numerous states in its path

Wed – Oct 5, 2022

  • All land-based equipment retrieved from Clearwater Beach, Florida

The USGS Coastal Storm Team led a coincident and massive effort to deploy sensors ahead of Hurricane Ian, and all data can be accessed on the USGS Flood Event Viewer.

Screen shot of the USGS Flood Event Viewer showing all sensors deployed to document Hurricane Ian impacts as of Thursday, October 6, 2022.

Related Updates

October 17, 2022

Buoy observations obtained in Hurricane Ian

Following the rapid-response air deployment of an array of buoys in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of Hurricane Ian, team members closely monitored the data collected by the devices.

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October 7, 2022

Directional Wave Spectra Drifter Array Measures Massive Waves on Hurricane Ian’s Approach

by Martha Schönau, Luca Centurioni, Steve Jayne, and Elizabeth Sanabia

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October 5, 2022

FHICS – Successful forecast of Hurricane Ian impacts

Hurricane Ian was the first 2022 hurricane to make landfall in the continental USA with strong Cat 5 winds and large amounts of rain. The team of Deltares USA, Deltares Netherlands, USGS and NRL successfully applied the COSMOS modelling system to forecast hurricane Ian’s flood and morphological impact.

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