USGS Installs Storm-Tide Sensors along Georgia and South Carolina Coasts prior to Hurricane Irma’s Arrival

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To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Irma, visit the USGS Hurricane Irma page.

Hurricane response crews from the U.S. Geological Survey are installing storm-tide sensors at key locations along the Georgia and South Carolina coast in advance of Hurricane Irma.

Under a mission assignment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the USGS is currently deploying storm tide sensors, barometers and rapid deployment gauges, and is consulting with federal and state partners about the need for similar equipment for other coastal areas farther north along the coastlines.

In Georgia USGS will deploy 50 storm-tide sensors, 25 barometers and 10 rapid deployment gauges. In South Carolina USGS will deploy 70 storm-tide sensors, 35 barometers, and 10 rapid deployment gauges. 

These storm-tide sensors, housed in vented steel pipes a few inches wide and about a foot long, are being installed on bridges, piers, and other structures that have a good chance of surviving a storm surge during a hurricane. The information they collect will help define the depth and duration of a storm-surge, as well as the time of its arrival and retreat. That information will help public officials assess storm damage, discern between wind and flood damage, and improve computer models used to forecast future floods.  You can track the storm-surge sensor deployment and see some of the incoming data via the USGS “Flood Viewer” at http://water.usgs.gov/floods/FEV/.

Storm-surges are increases in ocean water levels generated at sea by extreme storms and can have devastating coastal impacts. Direct impacts are expected in Florida later this week, and Georgia and South Carolina Sunday night into Monday.

The USGS studies the impacts of hurricanes and tropical storms to better understand potential impacts on coastal areas. Information provided through the sensor networks provides critical data for more accurate modeling and prediction capabilities and allows for improved structure designs and response for public safety.

The USGS, in cooperation with state and federal agencies, also operates more permanent sensor networks installed along the East Coast of the U.S. These networks provide real-time data important to the National Weather Service, FEMA and other USGS partners involved in issuing flood and evacuation warnings and in coordinating emergency responses to communities.

To stay up-to-date on Hurricane Irma science from the USGS visit: https://usgs.gov/irma

As USGS continues to take all appropriate preparedness and response actions as Hurricane Irma continues moving northward those in the storm’s projected path can visit www.ready.gov  or www.listo.gov  for tips on creating emergency plans and putting together an emergency supply kit.