The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) deployed a temporary monitoring network of water-level and barometric pressure sensors at 127 locations along the gulf coast from Alabama to Louisiana to record the timing, areal extent, and magnitude of hurricane storm tide and coastal flooding generated by Hurricane Isaac. This deployment was undertaken as part of a coordinated federal emergency response as outlined by the Stafford Act under a directed mission assignment by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Storm tide, as defined by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2008), is the water-level rise generated by a combination of storm surge and astronomical tide during a coastal storm. Hurricane Isaac initially made landfall on the coast of Louisiana in Plaquemines Parish on August 28, 2012, as a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale (National Weather Service, 1974) and then stalled over southern Louisiana for several days, causing prolonged storm-tide impacts. A total of 188 water-level and wave-height sensors were deployed at 127 locations during August 27–28 prior to landfall. More than 90 percent of the sensors and all high-water marks (HWMs) were recovered and surveyed to North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88) within 7 days of the Isaac landfall. Only a handful of sensors in the Plaquemines Parish area of Louisiana could not be retrieved until weeks later due to prolonged flooding in the area. Data collected from this event can be used to evaluate the performance of storm-tide models for maximum and incremental water level and flood extent and the site-specific effects of storm tide on natural and anthropogenic features of the environment.
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USGS Numbered Series
Monitoring storm tide and flooding from Hurricane Isaac along the Gulf Coast of the United States, August 2012