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The Surge, Wave, and Tide Hydrodynamics (SWaTH) network of the U.S. Geological Survey—Past and future implementation of storm-response monitoring, data collection, and data delivery

June 20, 2017

After Hurricane Sandy made landfall along the northeastern Atlantic coast of the United States on October 29, 2012, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) carried out scientific investigations to assist with protecting coastal communities and resources from future flooding. The work included development and implementation of the Surge, Wave, and Tide Hydrodynamics (SWaTH) network consisting of more than 900 monitoring stations. The SWaTH network was designed to greatly improve the collection and timely dissemination of information related to storm surge and coastal flooding. The network provides a significant enhancement to USGS data-collection capabilities in the region impacted by Hurricane Sandy and represents a new strategy for observing and monitoring coastal storms, which should result in improved understanding, prediction, and warning of storm-surge impacts and lead to more resilient coastal communities.

As innovative as it is, SWaTH evolved from previous USGS efforts to collect storm-surge data needed by others to improve storm-surge modeling, warning, and mitigation. This report discusses the development and implementation of the SWaTH network, and some of the regional stories associated with the landfall of Hurricane Sandy, as well as some previous events that informed the SWaTH development effort. Additional discussions on the mechanics of inundation and how the USGS is working with partners to help protect coastal communities from future storm impacts are also included.