Not Just Florida: Georgia And South Carolina Face "Catastrophic Storm Surge"

Tyler Durden's picture

As Hurricane Irma looks to be hurdling straight for a direct hit on Southern Florida, meteorologists from Weather Underground are warning that the most devastating impacts of the storm could be felt much further north in towns along the coast of Georgia and South Carolina where the storm surge could be a catastrophic 20-28 feet high in certain areas.  To put that in perspective, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 set a record for the largest storm surge ever recorded along the U.S. coast at 27.8 feet.

If Irma makes a trek up the East Coast from Miami to southern South Carolina as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane, as the models currently suggest, the portions of the coast that the eyewall touches will potentially see a massive and catastrophic storm surge, breaking all-time storm surge records and causing many billions of dollars in damage. Even areas up to a hundred miles to the north of where the center makes landfall could potentially see record storm surges. The area of most concern is the northern coast of Florida, the coast of Georgia, and the southern coast of South Carolina, due to the concave shape of the coast, which will act to funnel and concentrate the storm surge to ridiculous heights. If we look at wunderground’s storm surge maps for the U.S. East Coast, we see that in a worst-case Category 3 hurricane hitting at high tide, the storm tide (the combined effect of the storm surge and the tide) ranges from 17 – 20’ above ground along the northern coast of Florida, and 18 – 23 feet above ground along the Georgia coast. If Irma is a Cat 4, these numbers increase to 22 – 28 feet for the coast of Georgia. This is a Katrina-level storm surge, the kind that causes incredible destruction and mass casualties among those foolish enough to refuse to evacuate.

So, which coastal towns are most at risk?  As Weather Underground notes, Savannah in Southern Georgia could see a surge of up to 23 feet if Irma strikes as a Category 3 storm.  Obviously, the surge would be even larger if Irma manages to maintain Cat-4 winds.

Maximum of the "Maximum Envelope of Waters" (MOM) storm tide image for a composite maximum surge for a large suite of possible mid-strength Category 3 hurricanes (sustained winds of 120 mph) hitting at high tide (a tide level of 3.5’) along the coast of Georgia. What’s plotted here is the storm tide--the height above ground of the storm surge, plus an additional rise in case the storm hits at high tide. Empty brownish grid cells with no coloration show where no inundation is computed to occur. Inundation of 19 – 23’ will occur in a worst-case scenario along most of the coast.


Meanwhile, further north in Charleston, SC the surge could also exceed 20 feet and flood areas many miles inland from the shore.

Maximum of the "Maximum Envelope of Waters" (MOM) water depth image for a composite maximum surge for a large suite of possible mid-strength Category 3 hurricanes (sustained winds of 120 mph) hitting at high tide (a tide level of 2.5’) along the coast of South Carolina near Charleston. If Irma is a Cat 3 in South Carolina, a worst-case 17 – 21’ storm tide can occur.


Of course, as we noted earlier, this data has already prompted the governors of Georgia and South Carolina to declare a state of emergency and to call for citizens of coastal areas to begin evacuations immediately.


Ironically, even though Irma will be her strongest when washing ashore in Southern Florida, Weather Underground notes that deep water just offshore helps to subdue the storm surge from Miami to Fort Lauderdale...

South Florida is not at as great of a risk of a high storm surge, since there is deep water offshore, and the mound of water the hurricane piles up can flow downward into the deep ocean instead of getting piled up on land. The worst-case storm tide from a Category 4 hurricane for the coast from Miami Beach to West Palm Beach is 7 – 9 feet. However, that deep water allows much larger waves to build up, and Irma will create big waves that will pound the coast and cause heavy damage. There is a region of the coast from downtown Miami southwards, including Biscayne Bay, where the water is shallow, and the storm tide can be up to 15 feet in a Category 4 hurricane. The Great Miami Hurricane of 1926, a Category 4 storm, brought a 10 – 15’ storm surge to the coast of Miami along Biscayne Bay.


...which also should help to somewhat protect the coast on the western shores of Florida.

The Atlantic (Florida Straits) side of the Florida Keys also has deep water offshore, limiting the maximum storm surge in a Cat 4 to 8 – 10 feet. The risk is higher on the west (Florida Bay) side of the Keys, where the water is shallower; a worst-case storm tide of 12 – 15 feet can occur there. Any storm tide over six feet is extremely dangerous in the Florida Keys, due to the low elevation of the land. The greatest risk in the Keys, if the current NHC forecast verifies, would be on the Florida Bay (west) side of the Upper Keys, after the center of Irma moves just to the north. The counter-clockwise flow of air around the hurricane will then bring winds out of the southwest that will drive a large storm surge into the west side of the Upper Keys.


Be that as it may, with winds in excess of 120 mph expected pretty much across the entire state of Florida, one might be best suited to prepare for the worst no matter how close you are to the shore.

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Autonomous's picture

The wrath of God is upon us

Croesus's picture

Well, I guess FL real estate will soon be bargain priced...

Swampster's picture

so hurricanes are dangerous?

Croesus's picture

Got an ex living in Miami; I hope she gets out of there, even though she's a bitch.

Buster Cherry's picture

You're a.lot more gracious to yours than I'd ever be to mine.

whatamaroon's picture

He didn't say she a fucking bitch, big difference.

MozartIII's picture

The winds over Florida, Georgia and South Carolina will be the bitch that causes the most damage.

Déjà view's picture

Hugo with kayaks awaits Irma for RE viewing at Hilton Head...

ipso_facto's picture

'Well, I guess FL real estate will soon be bargain priced...'

The whole state will be a 'Fixer-Upper'.

GUS100CORRINA's picture

Observation: Can you imagine if HRC was POTUS while all of this was going on?

Just standing back and looking at what is happening, I am beginning to really believe that America is being judged by GOD. I am just not sure which SIN pushed America over the edge.

The silver lining in all of this tragedy is that the MARXIST PROGRESSIVE LIBERALS have been too busy running for their lives to do any real harm. Did everyone note how the ANTIFA and BLM crap and craziness went silent? Even the APOSTATE, HERETICAL and HYPOCRITICAL LAODICEAN CHURCH doesn't know what to think.

ScratInTheHat's picture

If that is true the northeast is due for the biggest one that has ever been seen!

Pool Shark's picture

What if Irma rips the Debt Ceiling off???


MozartIII's picture

Houston's is on the way. Need more wind up the whole coast would be a start.

True Blue's picture

So... you're saying this storm is ensuring Paul Krugman's long wood?

And windows too, of course.


The Alarmist's picture

I had to read that a couple times to ensure I was parsing it correctly: My first read suggested the storm was giving Krugman a hard-on. Then again, that might actually be the case with that sick bastard.

True Blue's picture

I phrased it very carefully for a reason. That apostrophe could be a contraction or possessive...

gigadeath's picture

Totally unrelated life hack: take a microwave, make it a trillion times more powerful and point it at the sky! You'll never have a rained out picnic ever again!

True Blue's picture

Really: I want fried 'chicken' falling from the skies.

yrad's picture

Storm Surge is my porn name.

Supafly's picture

Mine's Fluffer.  I don't go on camera for some reason though.

FatTony7915726's picture

"Storm Surge is my porn name."  Dude stop taking the Lord's actions lightly. He will smite you!

yrad's picture


I spent the last 6 days cleaning out moldy, feces infested homes in Houston while trafficking supplies from Dallas... I think me and the lord are in good standing.

Dumpster Elite's picture

Actually, I think that he will smite YE, not you.

stampman's picture

Cuz they blast loads up your nostrils.

SilverDoctors's picture

nah, not even close.  This is just the beginning of judgments...this is what happens when God begins to remove His hand of protection off of us. 
God doesn't do anything small, God's wrath is 3 billion people dead in a year... time to turn back to His ways and obey Him before we get anywhere close to the wrath part...

Geoengineering_Genocide's picture

It's not the wrath of GOD, it's the wrath of Luciferian central bankers who BELIEVE they are God.

Controlled weather warfare.

Solar radiation management and stratospheric aerosol spraying are destroying the planet and exterminating all life.  200 species go extinct each day.  Though official agencies deny the ongoing climate engineering, lab tests from around the world prove the lethal heavy metal particulates named in patents for these technologies are raining down on us all and contaminating every breath we take. 

Get educated on this issue and share this information with others.

pickatheweek's picture

Irma's heading right up the old Florida Okeechobee bunghole.

Pernicious Gold Phallusy's picture

Hurtling, not hurdling. If you don't know the difference go back to working at CNN.

SumTing Wong's picture

You're gonna need a bigger boat.

tripletail's picture

ZH and the like are so far ahead of themselves, it's embarrassing. Down here in south Florida, we know the real Irma track will start to reveal itself this Saturday. Get a clue, ZH! Seriously! And stop the doom porn!

dlweld's picture

Yeah, you're right - no need to get alarmed. The goverment officials should just do nothing, not calculate risks or anything. Just relax - what happens, happens. After all it's so embarrassing to appear concerned about storm surges, and public safety - heavens,  don't want to be termed "alarmist" - just relax. I feel it'll be fine.

new game's picture

long stilts...

and bibles...

and humor too.

Flocking swans's picture

Yes, a single buybull can heat a can of beans.

Other than that ... da buybull not worth a can o beans.

Dumpster Elite's picture

Say, you didn't have a relative that lived near Mt. St. Helens, did you? I remember that guy..."Nothin' to worry about! Does this all the time!"

Got The Wrong No's picture

Yeah, and you will be the first to blame Trump if something happens to you.

Tiwin's picture

If only they would go to the source-NHC and actually read......average forecast error 4 days out is 175 miles and 225 on Day 5.

If I lived in Miami and 5 days out the cone and line were right over Biscayne Bay i would feel pretty safe!

But now that its only 3 days away I'd start worrying! Some.

RawPawg's picture

looks like i need to mow the MIL'S Grass this weekend(we be located in the Alabama area)

Feeder Bands can be just as Righteous

FatTony7915726's picture

Been to Bal Harbour Miami.  Rich folks with millions & wealth everywhere, they will for once have to worry cause their money can't do shit!  Jump Mofo's

rejected's picture

Yea,,, poor bastards will just move to one of their homes in France or somewhere waiting for illegals to rebuild.

Gotta feel for them...

Bigly's picture

Didn't Branson's necker island get wiped out?

Wonder if his bunker saved him....

BeansMcGreens's picture

He was able to stand on the shoulders of a huge, powerful transsexual to escape the storm surge, thank goodness obama and missus were visiting.

WTFUD's picture

With all this impending doom, folks are forgetting the aftermath, yeah, shovel ready jobs!