Birds-Eye and Fish-Eye Views of Irene’s Floodwaters

Approaching the anniversary of last year’s landfall in New York City of Tropical Storm Irene, I decided to make some animations of that storm’s flood elevations and water currents.  The model-based animations have voice-overs explaining what happened in the water during Irene’s journey past New Jersey, New York City and up the Hudson River.  The first animation linked below is a “birds-eye view”, or plan view, showing first, storm surge height, and second, total water elevations caused by tides and storm surge.  Note that the time is shown at the top, and it progresses from August 27th through 29th and it “loops” multiple times.

Click on me for animation!

Click to see animation of plan view of modeled tropical storm Irene (1) storm surge and (2) total water elevations, with voice-over, August 27-29, 2011. Based on model runs using Stevens ECOM, the model used for Stevens Institute’s Storm Surge Warning System.

The next animation is a “fish-eye view”, or really a section view, looping from August 27th mid-day to August 29th mid-day, showing total water elevation, water velocity and speed, and water salinity (salt content, from 0 to 35 parts per thousand), demonstrating how the rainfall confluence in the Hudson River eventually washed it’s usual estuarine mix of seawater out completely south of Manhattan:

Click to go to Irene animation

Click to go to Irene animation with voice-over for the Hudson River, section view from Verrazano (left side; ocean end) northward to Albany (right side; river end).  Black areas are below the river bed.  Colors are defined in the titles and color bars on the right, with the top panel showing water velocity (positive for up the Hudson) and bottom showing water salinity.  Total water elevation is the vertical level of the color-shaded regions.  The dashed lines show the minor and moderate flooding benchmark elevations — generally where water spills over sea walls.

We  just published a research paper on the storm tides across the tri-state area in the Journal of Geophysical Research.  The article, “Detailed Modeling of Recent Severe Storm Tides in Estuaries of the New York City Region,” provides a summary of water elevation measurements in waterways around New York City during Hurricane Irene, which brought strong winds, heavy rainfall and near record-breaking storm tides to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.  Also, by conducting a series of in-depth modeling sensitivity experiments on eight tide stations, we contrast the accuracy of our computer-based storm surge forecast model, the Stevens Storm Surge Warning System, with multiple simplified versions of the model that emulate other commonly-used storm surge models.

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One Response to Birds-Eye and Fish-Eye Views of Irene’s Floodwaters

  1. Pingback: Presenting Wednesday: Impacts of Irene & Lee on the Hudson | SeaAndSkyNY

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