Hurricane Gustav, a category 2 storm with 170 kilometers per hour (km/h) winds, approached the Louisiana coast from the south-southeast, making landfall near Cocodrie, La., on September 1, 2008 (Beven and Kimberlain, 2009); Hurricane Ike, a category 2 storm with 175 km/h winds, approached the Texas coast from the southeast, paralleling offshore of the Louisiana coast, before making landfall along the north end of Galveston Island, Tex., on September 13, 2008 (Berg, 2009). Hurricane Ike's large wind field elevated water levels, increasing coastal flooding well before making landfall (Berg, 2009). An initial land area change assessment, based on comparison of Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) satellite imagery, acquired before 2006 and after the 2008 landfalls of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike and classified to identify land and water, reported that the water area increased by 323 square kilometers (km2) in coastal Louisiana as a result of the storms (Barras, 2009). The land area decrease of 195 km2 was less than the 513 km2 decrease reported between 2004 and 2006 (Barras and others, 2008) after the landfalls of Hurricane Katrina, a strong category 3 storm that made landfall near Buras, La., on August 29, 2005, and Hurricane Rita, a category 3 storm that made landfall just west of Johnsons Bayou, La., on September 29, 2005. The 2004 to 2006 land area decrease is 49 km2 less than the 562 km2 initial change estimate based on satellite imagery obtained two months after the 2005 storms (Barras, 2007a). The comparison area used to identify the 2004 to 2006 land area change matches the extent of historical land and water data used to quantify coastal land loss from 1956 to 2006 (Barras and others, 2008) and is 3,841 km2 less than the 33,457.7 km2 used for Barras (2006) and Barras (2009). The greater comparison area used for the 2006 to 2008 period (Barras, 2009) resulted in a 2004 to 2006 loss estimate of 525.8 km2, 13.0 km2 greater than the 512.8 km2 estimate reported in Barras (2008).
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USGS Numbered Series
Remotely sensed imagery revealing the effects of hurricanes Gustav and Ike on coastal Louisiana