Hurricane Nate - Forecast and Documentation of Coastal Change

Science Center Objects

Hurricane Nate coastal change forecast and pre- and post-storm photos documenting coastal change.

Hurricane Nate made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River on October 8, 2017, and caused widespread coastal erosion along the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Storm surge reached 1 to 2 meters above predicted tides from Louisiana through the Florida Panhandle. Offshore wave heights in excess of 5 meters were observed offshore of Alabama. These large waves contributed an additional 1 to 3 meters of wave runup at the shoreline. The combined effects of surge and storm-induced wave runup created elevated total water levels at the shoreline, causing extensive beach erosion and overwash.

Response activities included:

  • Forecast of potential coastal change (see next section)
  • Pre-and post-storm photos documenting coastal change (see gallery below)

Forecast of Potential Coastal Change

The coastal change forecast model predicts the probability of where and how sand dunes along the coast will be impacted by water levels during a storm. This includes the combined effect of surge and wave runup. The color band closest to the shoreline is the probability of dune erosion, the middle color band is the probability that sand dunes will be overtopped by waves during the storm, and the outer color band is the probability that the sand dunes will be completely inundated/flooded. The model forecast is available on the Coastal Change Hazards Portal and more information about the model can be found here: https://www.usgs.gov/centers/spcmsc/science/scenario-based-assessments-used-coastal-change-hazard-forecasts

Predicted probabilities of dune erosion for Hurricane Nate

Predicted probabilities of dune erosion (inner strip), overwash (middle strip), and inundation (outer strip) for Hurricane Nate. Pictures are representative of coastal change observed during past storm events. The model forecast is available on the Coastal Change Hazards Portal and more information about the model can be found at https://www.usgs.gov/centers/spcmsc/science/scenario-based-assessments-used-coastal-change-hazard-forecasts. Photos of coastal change caused by Hurricane Nate are shown in the gallery below. (Public domain.)

Pre-and Post-Storm Photo Comparisons

The photos pairs below show aerial photos from June 2017 and similar imagery taken a few days after Hurricane Nate’s landfall (https://storms.ngs.noaa.gov/). The photos show how the coast was impacted by the storm and are used to validate the forecast model.

Research is part of the National Assessment of Storm-Induced Coastal Change Hazards project.