Notre Dame researcher studying Hurricane Irene's storm surge

Aug 26, 2011

While a great number of people are preparing to evacuate in the face of Hurricane Irene, Andrew Kennedy, a researcher in the University of Notre Dame Department of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences, rushed to the outer banks of North Carolina yesterday in anticipation of its arrival.

Kennedy, a member of Notre Dame's Hydraulic Computation Research Group, is on a helicopter rapidly deploying wave and surge gauges for data collection in conjunction with Irene.

"Irene looks likely to have large impacts in North Carolina and I am at the outer banks to deploy wave/surge gauges with some local North Carolina researchers I have worked with before," Kennedy said." "Depending on landfall location and strength, there is potential for a new inlet to be created as a barrier island is cut, and strong to serve building damage. Irene is large and strong and the best hope for North Carolina is that it goes offshore. If it does, though, it will just push the problem north to New York or New England, so someone is going to get hit badly."

Kennedy's research focuses on waves, surge and currents in the coastal ocean and their effects on human activities.

Storm surge is the wall of water pushed onto land as a hurricane comes ashore. Although high winds are associated with hurricanes, storm surge is actually a greater danger and a leading cause of destruction and death.

Kennedy's colleague Joannes Westerink, the Notre Dame Chair in Computational Hydraulics, is one of the developers of the Advanced , or ADCIRC, an authoritative computer model for storm surge prediction. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state of Louisiana use the model to determine water levels due to surge as well as to design appropriate levee heights and alignments.

Explore further: NASA sees intensifying typhoon Phanfone heading toward Japan

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Computer used to simulate storm surge

Sep 14, 2005

Federal and state emergency agencies are using a supercomputer program to simulate Hurricane Katrina's storm surge to prepare for future storms.

Lake Okeechobee at risk in hurricanes

Oct 10, 2006

Scientists say New Orleans is most vulnerable to hurricane storm surge-caused loss of life and property damage of all U.S. East Coast and Gulf Coast areas.

Wetlands restoration not a panacea for Louisiana coast

Sep 26, 2008

Counting on wetlands restoration projects to protect storm buffeted infrastructure along the Louisiana Coast is likely to be a "losing battle" that provides "false hope" and prevents endangered communities from clearly planning ...

Stevens has an eye on the science of Hurricane Irene

Aug 25, 2011

While residents along the New Jersey and New York coasts rush to the store for batteries and bottled water, scientists at Stevens Institute of Technology are heading to the laboratory to help predict the impact of Hurricane ...

Recommended for you

Sculpting tropical peaks

14 hours ago

Tropical mountain ranges erode quickly, as heavy year-round rains feed raging rivers and trigger huge, fast-moving landslides. Rapid erosion produces rugged terrain, with steep rivers running through deep ...

Volcano expert comments on Japan eruption

15 hours ago

Loÿc Vanderkluysen, PhD, who recently joined Drexel as an assistant professor in Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science in the College of Arts and Sciences, returned Friday from fieldwork ...

User comments : 0