Coastal Storm Response Surge, Wave, and Tide Hydrodynamics Network (SWaTH)

Science Center Objects

Following Hurricane Sandy, the USGS began construction of an overland Surge, Wave, and Tide Hydrodynamics (SWaTH) Network along the Northeastern Atlantic Coast from North Carolina to Maine. This network, developed collaboratively with numerous partners, features the integration of long-term tide gage networks, with real-time rapid-deployment gages (RDG) and mobile storm-tide sensors (STS). An e...

Following Hurricane Sandy, the USGS began construction of an overland Surge, Wave, and Tide Hydrodynamics (SWaTH) Network along the Northeastern Atlantic Coast from North Carolina to Maine. This network, developed collaboratively with numerous partners, features the integration of long-term tide gage networks, with real-time rapid-deployment gages (RDG) and mobile storm-tide sensors (STS). An element of the comprehensive strategy of SWaTH ensures that locations for most RDGs and STSs have been presurveyed to the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88) and equipped with receiving brackets. This permits rapid deployment and recovery of instrumentation and data dissemination in the hours and days immediately after an event.

The SWaTH Network in New York State consists of 21 existing and new flood-hardened, long-term, real-time tide gages, 9 RDGs, and more than 60 temporary STS locations. Locations in the SWaTH Network were selected according to three criteria: (1) a distributed array of stations representing the range of landscape types and infrastructure subject to surge and wave forces, (2) along transects from the coastline through the inland resource of concern (e.g. a wetland or coastal community), and (3) at existing tide and river monitoring stations where new data can be integrated with long-term records.Transects oriented perpendicular to the coastline across barrier islands, wetlands, and urban areas will enable scientists to measure and analyze wave height, frequency, and devolution as functions of water depth and distance inland – important factors that dramatically influence storm-tide damage.

Many SWaTH Network locations were equipped with pre-installed receiving brackets (as shown above), which will receive a pipe housing and sensor prior to significant coastal-flooding events and recovered shortly thereafter. Pipe housings were manufactured in lengths ranging from 2 to 12 ft, in order to capture the entire tidal cycle. Each pipe will house a non-vented pressure transducer, which will collect storm data at up to 4 Hz (4 times per second), so that scientists can assess both storm tide and wave energy.

Using an early prototype of the SWaTH Network sensor housing, the USGS was able to collect data for the full storm-tide cycle during Hurricane Sandy at various locations along the East Coast, providing critical information for modelers and coastal scientists. The hydrograph above shows the recorded storm-tide elevation (blue line) and barometric pressure (yellow line) for Hurricane Sandy at Flushing, New York.

In past storms, rapid-deployment gages (RDGs) were deployed on the fly taking considerable time and effort to install. Using the pre-installed and surveyed SWaTH Network receiving brackets, as shown above, deployment time for these gages should be reduced considerably. The SWaTH Network will provide deployment of up to 65 RDGs from North Carolina to Maine, which will provide real-time tide elevation and meteorological data to complement existing NOAA and USGS long-term coastal gages.

Stations levels, in reference to NAVD88, were determined for each site through GNSS and optical surveying methods. Data for all SWaTH Network locations were entered into the USGS Short-Term Network (STN) database, which will provide a portal for the public dissemination of SWaTH Network data through the USGS Flood Event Viewer (FEV) at https://water.usgs.gov/floods/FEV and other web services

Benefits

The USGS SWaTH Network of pre-installed and surveyed brackets, and the integration of the Network with STN and FEV, will greatly reduce the time required to deploy and retrieve sensors and process and disseminate data from weeks to days. These data will help emergency responder’s and forecaster’s better track flood impacts, provide more accurate warnings and advisories, assess flood damage, and rush the appropriate assistance to flooded communities. It will also lead to improved community safety and resilience as building codes and land use policies incorporate the new information.

For more information about the SWaTH Network, contact Ron Busciolano (rjbuscio@usgs.gov) or William Capurso (wcapurso@usgs.gov) or see https://water.usgs.gov/floods/swath/.

Project
Location by County

Albany County, NY, Bronx County, NY, Columbia County, NY. Dutchess County, NY, Greene County, NY, Kings County, NY, Nassau County, NY, New York (Manhattan) County (FIPS 36061), NY, Orange County, NY, Putnam County, NY, Queens County, NY, Rensselaer County, NY, Richmond County, NY, Rockland County, NY, Schenectady County, NY, Suffolk County, NY, Ulster County, NY, Westchester County, NY