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Monitoring storm tide and flooding from Hurricane Irma along the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Southeastern United States, September 2017

April 16, 2019

Hurricane Irma skirted the northern coasts of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, with maximum sustained winds of 185 miles per hour (mi/h) on September 6, 2017. The hurricane first made landfall in Florida near Cudjoe Key, in the lower Florida Keys, with maximum sustained winds of 130 mi/h on September 10, 2017. The hurricane made a second Florida landfall on Marco Island, Florida, with maximum sustained winds of 115 mi/h on September 10, 2017. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with Federal Emergency Management Agency, deployed a temporary monitoring network of water-level and barometric pressure sensors at 249 locations along the Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina coasts to record the timing, areal extent, and magnitude of hurricane storm tide and coastal flooding generated by the hurricane. Immediately following the passage of Hurricane Irma, the sensors were retrieved, and the data were disseminated on the USGS Flood Event Viewer (https://stn.wim.usgs.gov/FEV/#IrmaSeptember2017). The storm-tide peak data values were verified by comparing data from hydrologic recorders and nearby high-water marks (HWMs). Following the hurricane, 508 independent HWM locations were flagged and surveyed relative to the North American Vertical Datum of 1988, National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929, or a local datum along the southeastern U.S. coast, and to Puerto Rico Vertical Datum of 2002 in Puerto Rico. Most HWMs were in Florida because of the path of the hurricane. The data from the Hurricane Irma storm-tide network are available on a provisional basis in tab-delimited, American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) format and Network Common Data Form (NetCDF) format by site for each sensor by using the USGS Flood Event Viewer.