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Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts (2014)

Chapter: Appendix A: Major U.S. Coastal Storms Since 1900

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Major U.S. Coastal Storms Since 1900." National Research Council. 2014. Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18811.
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Appendix A


Major U.S. Coastal Storms Since 1900

Table A-1 provides information on major coastal storms that have impacted the United States since 1900. The committee primarily utilized information compiled by NOAA’s National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service and included storms from those compilations that were reported to have caused over $200 million in damages (in 2013 dollars) or over 200 deaths, although the list is not exhaustive. Most of the storms included on this list are tropical cyclones, which may be due in part to the relatively localized geographic impacts of these storms and the focus of post-event analyses. Extratropical storms, exemplified by two notable storms in this list, tend to affect much larger areas of the coast and produce waves and surges that usually persist for much longer than tropical systems. For this reason, they produce much more destruction to natural coastal defenses (primarily the dune system and their fronting beaches). The lack of careful post-event analyses of these storms makes it very difficult to find accurate estimates of the total damages; however, it should be recognized that they occur much more frequently than tropical cyclones along most East Coast areas and play a large role in changing the vulnerability and resilience of coastal communities.

The Saffir-Simpson scale is included in Table A-1 only to provide a concept of storm intensity as the storms struck the U.S. coast. Many other factors influence storm surge and coastal damages. The Saffir-Simpson scale was abandoned by the National Hurricane Center as an indicator of storm surge/coastal inundation in 2010 (http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/).

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Major U.S. Coastal Storms Since 1900." National Research Council. 2014. Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18811.
×

TABLE A-1 Major U.S. Coastal Storms since 1900

Name Year Location Estimated U.S. Damages (in Billions of 2013 Dollars) Fatalities Saffir-Simpson Category*
Hurricane Sandya 2012 Florida to Maine   66 159 2
Hurricane Irenea 2011 Puerto Rico, NC, mid-Atlantic coast, New York City, NY   14 45 1
Hurricane Ikea 2008 Galveston Island, Texas   32 112 2
Hurricane Wilmaa 2005 Naples, FL; Upper Keys, FL; Marathon, FL   23 35 3
Hurricane Ritaa 2005 Texas, Louisiana   22 119 3
Hurricane Katrinaa 2005 Buras, LA 149 1833 3
Hurricane Dennisa 2005 Gulf coast, FL     3 15 3
Hurricane Jeannea 2004 Puerto Rico, Florida     9 28 3
Hurricane Ivana 2004 Southeastern U.S.   25 57 4
Hurricane Francesa 2004 Florida   12 48 2
Hurricane Charleya 2004 Florida, New Jersey   20 35 4
Hurricane Isabela 2003 Mid-Atlantic     7 55 2
Tropical Storm 2001 Texas, North   11 43 Tropical
Allisona   Carolina     storm
Hurricane Floyda 1999 North Carolina     9 77 2
Hurricane Opala 1995 Florida     5 27 3
Hurricane Andrewa 1992 Lower east FL coast; Gulf Coast   45 61 4
Hurricane Iniki a 1992 Hawaii     5 7 4
The “Perfect 1991 Florida through    <1 5 Extratropical
Storm”b   Maine     storm
Hurricane Hugoa 1989 Puerto Rico; Charleston, SC; Hatteras, NC   17 86 4
Hurricane Aliciaa 1983 Galveston, TX     7 21 3
Tropical Storm 1979 Texas, Louisiana,     1 2 Tropical
Claudettec   Oklahoma     storm
Hurricane Agnesc 1972 East coast of Florida, Pennsylvania, New York   12 122 1
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Major U.S. Coastal Storms Since 1900." National Research Council. 2014. Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18811.
×
Name Year Location Estimated U.S. Damages (in Billions of 2013 Dollars) Fatalities Saffir-Simpson Category*
Hurricane Camillec 1969 Gulf Coast 9 256 5
Ash Wednesday Stormd 1962 East coast from Cape Hatteras, NC to Rhode Island 1.5 40 Extratropical Storm
Hurricane Donnac 1960 Puerto Rico, Florida, North Carolina, New England 3 50 4
Hurricane Audreyc 1957 Texas, Louisiana 1 390 4
Hurricanes Connie and Dianec 1955 North Carolina 7.6 184 3 (Connie), 1 (Diane)
Hurricane Hazelc 1954 South Carolina, North Carolina 2 95 4
Hurricane Carolc 1954 North Carolina, Virginia, New York 4 60 3
Great Atlantic Hurricanec 1944 North Carolina to Maine 1.3 46 3
New England Hurricanec 1938 North Carolina, New York, Connecticut 5 600 3
Florida Keys Labor Day Hurricanec 1935 South Florida <1 408 2
San Felipe-Lake Okeechobee Hurricanec 1928 Puerto Rico, Florida <1 2148 4
Great Miami Hurricanec 1926 Miami, FL 91 373 4
Atlantic Gulf Hurricanec 1919 Florida, Texas <1 600-900 4
Galveston Hurricanec 1900 Galveston, TX <1 6,000-8,000 4

NOTES: This list is not exhaustive. *Saffir-Simpson category provided at landfall on the U.S. coast.

SOURCES:

ahttp://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/events,

bhttp://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/satellite/satelliteseye/cyclones/pfctstorm91/pfctstdam.html,

chttp://www.nhc.noaa.gov/outreach/history/,

dhttp://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/lwx/Historic_Events/StormsOfCentury.html.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Major U.S. Coastal Storms Since 1900." National Research Council. 2014. Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18811.
×

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Major U.S. Coastal Storms Since 1900." National Research Council. 2014. Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18811.
×
Page 175
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Major U.S. Coastal Storms Since 1900." National Research Council. 2014. Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18811.
×
Page 176
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Major U.S. Coastal Storms Since 1900." National Research Council. 2014. Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18811.
×
Page 177
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Major U.S. Coastal Storms Since 1900." National Research Council. 2014. Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18811.
×
Page 178
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Hurricane- and coastal-storm-related losses have increased substantially during the past century, largely due to increases in population and development in the most susceptible coastal areas. Climate change poses additional threats to coastal communities from sea level rise and possible increases in strength of the largest hurricanes. Several large cities in the United States have extensive assets at risk to coastal storms, along with countless smaller cities and developed areas. The devastation from Superstorm Sandy has heightened the nation's awareness of these vulnerabilities. What can we do to better prepare for and respond to the increasing risks of loss?

Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts reviews the coastal risk-reduction strategies and levels of protection that have been used along the United States East and Gulf Coasts to reduce the impacts of coastal flooding associated with storm surges. This report evaluates their effectiveness in terms of economic return, protection of life safety, and minimization of environmental effects. According to this report, the vast majority of the funding for coastal risk-related issues is provided only after a disaster occurs. This report calls for the development of a national vision for coastal risk management that includes a long-term view, regional solutions, and recognition of the full array of economic, social, environmental, and life-safety benefits that come from risk reduction efforts. To support this vision, Reducing Coastal Risk states that a national coastal risk assessment is needed to identify those areas with the greatest risks that are high priorities for risk reduction efforts. The report discusses the implications of expanding the extent and levels of coastal storm surge protection in terms of operation and maintenance costs and the availability of resources.

Reducing Coastal Risk recommends that benefit-cost analysis, constrained by acceptable risk criteria and other important environmental and social factors, be used as a framework for evaluating national investments in coastal risk reduction. The recommendations of this report will assist engineers, planners and policy makers at national, regional, state, and local levels to move from a nation that is primarily reactive to coastal disasters to one that invests wisely in coastal risk reduction and builds resilience among coastal communities.

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