USGS - Science for a changing world

USGS Responds to Hurricane Isaac (8/28/2012)

This Science Feature can be found at:
A map of all USGS storm surge sensor locations

USGS has installed more than 120 storm surge sensors in advance of Hurricane Isaac’s landfall. Click the image above to see the locations of each USGS sensor.

Note: This was originally posted on 8/28/2012. View the most updated information on this event.

USGS has posted all information regarding our efforts to respond to Hurricane Isaac on this page and in the links at the bottom.

USGS scientists, engineers, and technicians are working along the Gulf Coast in response to Hurricane Isaac, deploying storm-surge sensors and maintaining real-time streamgages in anticipation of Isaac’s arrival. The USGS, in concert with our partners, is providing scientific assessments of the challenges wrought by Isaac.

Storm-Surge and Real-Time Sensors

The USGS has deployed more than 120 storm-surge sensors along the northern Gulf of Mexico in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Of those sensors, 12 are reporting data in real-time, while the other sensors will be collected post-landfall.

The instruments will be removed as soon as possible, following the departure of the storm.

These sensors are typically about 1 1/2 inches wide and a foot long, and will be strapped to piers, docks or other structures in the water expected to withstand the storm to collect data on storm surge, and in some cases, transmit water levels in real time.  They are typically installed on the coast or just inland of the coast about 50 miles west and 100 miles east of the projected landfall area.  Learn more about our storm surge sensors and what to do if you see one.

Coastal Change Impacts

Elevated water levels and waves during tropical storms can lead to dramatic coastal change through erosion of beaches and dunes. USGS has developed a storm-impact scale that predicts the likelihood of coastal change by comparing modeled elevations of storm-induced water levels to known elevations of coastal topography in order to define three coastal change regimes. USGS has completed an assessment of potential coastal-change impacts from Tropical Storm Isaac.