Cape Lookout National Seashore, a barrier-island coastal park in North Carolina, is vulnerable to the powerful, sand-moving forces of hurricanes. Waves and storm surge associated with these strong tropical storms are part of a natural process in barrier-island evolution and can cause extensive morphologic changes in coastal parks, leading to road closures and reduced visitor accessibility. The vulnerability of park beaches to inundation, and associated extreme coastal change, during a direct hurricane landfall can be assessed by comparing the elevations of storm-induced mean-water levels (storm surge) to the elevations of the crest of the sand dune that defines the beach system. Maps detailing the inundation potential for Category 1-5 hurricanes can be used by park managers to determine the relative vulnerability of various barrier-island parks and to assess which areas of a particular park are more susceptible to inundation and extreme coastal changes.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Vulnerability of National Park Service beaches to inundation during a direct hurricane landfall: Cape Lookout National Seashore
U.S. Geological Survey
Florida Integrated Science Center - St. Petersburg