Hurricanes 2004: An overview of their characteristics and coastal change

Estuaries and Coasts
By: , and 



Four hurricanes battered the state of Florida during 2004, the most affecting any state since Texas endured four in 1884. Each of the storms changed the coast differently. Average shoreline change within the right front quadrant of hurricane force winds varied from 1 m of shoreline advance to 20 m of retreat, whereas average sand volume change varied from 11 to 66 m3 m−1 of net loss (erosion). These changes did not scale simply with hurricane intensity as described by the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. The strongest storm of the season, category 4 Hurricane Charley, had the least shoreline retreat. This was likely because of other factors like the storm's rapid forward speed and small size that generated a lower storm surge than expected. Two of the storms, Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne, affected nearly the same area on the Florida east coast just 3 wk apart. The first storm, Frances, although weaker than the second, caused greater shoreline retreat and sand volume erosion. As a consequence, Hurricane Frances may have stripped away protective beach and exposed dunes to direct wave attack during Jeanne, although there was significant dune erosion during both storms. The maximum shoreline change for all four hurricanes occurred during Ivan on the coasts of eastern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. The net volume change across a barrier island within the Ivan impact zone approached zero because of massive overwash that approximately balanced erosion of the beach. These data from the 2004 hurricane season will prove useful in developing new ways to scale and predict coastal-change effects during hurricanes.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Hurricanes 2004: An overview of their characteristics and coastal change
Series title Estuaries and Coasts
DOI 10.1007/BF02798647
Volume 29
Issue 6
Year Published 2006
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 9 p.
First page 880
Last page 888
Country United States
State Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina
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