World storm surge records

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:41 PM GMT on August 03, 2009

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The Bathurst Bay Cyclone, also known as Tropical Cyclone Mahina, which struck Bathurst Bay, Australia on March 5, 1899, is generally credited with the world record for storm surge. The cyclone's storm surge is variously listed at 13 - 14.6 meters (43 - 48 feet). The Category 5 cyclone was a monster--with sustained winds in excess of 175 mph and a central pressure between 880 and 914 mb. Mahina killed at least 307 people, mostly on pearling ships, and was the deadliest cyclone in Australian history. The eyewitness account of Mahina's record storm surge was provided by Constable J. M. Kenny, who journeyed to Barrow Point on Bathurst Bay to investigate a crime on the day of the storm. While camped on a ridge 40 feet above sea level and 1/2 mile inland, Kenny's camp was inundated by a storm wave, reaching waist-deep. On nearby Flinders Island, fish and dolphins were found on top of 15 meter (49 foot) cliffs. However, an analysis by Nott and Hayne (2000) found no evidence of storm-deposited debris higher than 3 - 5 meters above mean sea level in the region. They also cited two computer storm surge simulations of the cyclone that were unable to generate a surge higher than three meters. Indeed, Bathurst Bay is not ideally situated to receive high storm surges. The Great Barrier Reef lies just 20 - 40 km offshore, and the ocean bottom near the bay is not shallow, but steeply sloped. Both of these factors should conspire to keep storm surges well below the record 13 - 14.6 meters reported. The authors concluded that the actual surge from the Bathurst Bay Cyclone may have been 3 - 5 meters. The observed inundation at 13 meters elevation, plus the observation of dolphins deposited at 15 meters above sea level, could have been caused by high waves on top of the surge, they argue. Waves on top of the surge (called "wave run-up") can reach five times the wave height at the shore for steeply fronted coasts like at Bathurst Bay. Since waves in the Bathurst Bay Cyclone could easily have been 3 meters, 15 meters of wave run-up on top of the surge is quite feasible. Since wave run-up doesn't count as surge, the status of the 1899 Bathurst Bay Hurricane as the world-record holder for storm surge is questionable. However, the event is certainly the record holder for the high water mark set by a tropical cyclone's storm surge, an important category in its own right.


Figure 1. Satellite image of Bathurst Bay, Queensland Province, Australia. The record 43 - 48 foot storm surge wave occurred on Barrow Point, marked by an "x" on the map above. Image credit: NASA.


Figure 2. Track of the 1899 Bathurst Bay cyclone. Bathurst Bay is located at the point where the 914 mb pressure is listed. Image credit: Whittingham, 1958.

Australian storm surge records
The largest storm surges in Australia occur in Gulf of Carpentaria, due to the large expanse of shallow water there (the Gulf of Carpentaria is the large bay to the left of the zoomed-in map of Bathurst Bay shown above). According to an email I received from Australian hurricane scientist Jeffrey Callaghan, "From all reports the storm surge from the disastrous 5 March 1887 cyclone flooded almost all of Burketown (some 30km inland from the Gulf). A copy of a 1918 report to the Queensland Parliament from the Department of Harbours and Rivers Engineer refers to the sea rising to 5.5 metres above the highest spring tide level at the Albert River Heads. This level is about 8 metres (26.2 feet) above Australian Height Datum (AHD). The biggest measured surge in the Gulf of Carpenteria occurred on 30 March 1923, when a surge of 21.4 feet was recorded at a Groote Eylandt Mission".

So what is the world storm surge record if the Bathurst Bay cyclone does not qualify? Well, I haven't researched storms in the Indian Ocean or Pacific Typhoons yet, but it might be difficult to find any storm that beats Hurricane Katrina's 27.8 foot storm surge.

References:
Nott, J, N. Hayne, 2000: How high was the storm surge from Tropical Cyclone Mahina?", Australian Journal of Emergency Management, Autumn 2000.

Anonymous, 1899, The Outridge Report--The Pearling Disaster 1899: A Memorial", The Outridge Company, 1899

Whittingham, 1958, "The Bathurst Bay hurricane and associated storm surge", Australian Meteorological Magazine, No. 27, pp. 40-41. Scanned and put on-line courtesy of John McBride.

I'll have an update on Tuesday, when the latest CSU seasonal hurricane forecast comes out at 11am EDT.
.
Jeff Masters

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1261. SLU
Quoting Weather456:
Been hearing a lot about features moving north and breaking free from the ITCZ

A feature does not have to move north to break away from the ITCZ. A feature can close off and become seperated from the ITCZ main circulation. The feature then either go north (which most do, which results in the misconception) or continue west.

Both Ivan and Felix never leaved the ITCZ area, they just closed off and became seperated from the main flow and continued west.


And that's right.

Some of these bloggers are ITCZ obsessed mainly cuz they don't fully understand the dynamics of the ITCZ and tropical disturbances.

Your thoughts on the CATL mid-level vortex and thunderstorm complex? Where do you think it will end up? I'm leaning more towards the 12Z GFS-type track as well as the NOGAPS because based on the initial motion of the system they look more realistic than the 18Z GFS solution.
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Sorry if this has been posted already but, 7E is to become Enrique at 11:

Link
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In case this wasn't posted:

invest_RENUMBER_ep992009_ep082009.ren
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If this thing continues to develop, I am pretty confident of it not moving into the Carribean.
Member Since: February 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 479
1256. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)


International Typhoon Name: Morakot
PAGASA Name: "Kiko"
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Be back later.....Shower time....
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Shear may keep it out of the Caribbean.

Link
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Quoting KoritheMan:


The name's Bond. James Bond.
Wouldn't Bondster be more appropriate ?
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2515
Quoting Weather456:
Been hearing a lot about features moving north and breaking free from the ITCZ

A feature does not have to move north to break away from the ITCZ. A feature can close off and become seperated from the ITCZ main circulation. The feature then either go north (which most due, which results in the misconception) or continue west.

Both Ivan and Felix never leaved the ITCZ area, they just closed off and became seperated from the main flow and continued west.


very good point, yes I agree its a big misconception
Quoting AussieStorm:

We are hated cause USA is our closest Allies.
This is the 2nd group caught since 9/11


yeah according to the middle east, al Qaeda, etc.
the united states and its allies are evils that must be wiped off the face of the earth... i feel bad for israel thats also hated and is sitting right there next to them
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting Weather456:
Been hearing a lot about features moving north and breaking free from the ITCZ

A feature does not have to move north to break away from the ITCZ. A feature can close off and become seperated from the ITCZ main circulation. The feature then either go north (which most due, which results in the misconception) or continue west.

Both Ivan and Felix never leaved the ITCZ area, they just closed off and became seperated from the main flow and continued west.
So di hurricane Allen,formed around 10 degrees north..
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1249. Skyepony (Mod)
Actual headline..

Almost all of Canada's British Columbia on wildfire..
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
I read that but it doesn't ease my mind at all.
Then look at it this way, its not even a TD yet, not even an invest, and may never be. Best to just sit back, watch, wait.
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2515
Quoting KoritheMan:


The name's Bond. James Bond.



talk too me on IM KoritheMan am waiting for you
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Been hearing a lot about features moving north and breaking free from the ITCZ

A feature does not have to move north to break away from the ITCZ. A feature can close off and become seperated from the ITCZ main circulation. The feature then either go north (which most do, which results in the misconception) or continue west.

Both Ivan and Felix never leaved the ITCZ area, they just closed off and became seperated from the main flow and continued west.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
This is by far the most impressive wave this year. The only down side to development is if this thing begins to inject all that dry air into it. However, it has a very large moisture field for the dry air to contend with.
Member Since: February 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 479
1244. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)


International Typhoon Name: Goni
PAGASA Name: "Jolina"
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Quoting Patrap:
Nothing scarier than a well defined low running Cape Verde Buzzsaw careening wildly thru the Caribbean and into the GOM Sauna.





Vodka Martini please,..shaken,not stirred?



omg LOL
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting Patrap:
Nothing scarier than a well defined low running Cape Verde Buzzsaw careening wildly thru the Caribbean and into the GOM Sauna.





Vodka Martini please,..shaken,not stirred?



The name's Bond. James Bond.
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1241. SLU
Quoting 19N81W:
I know its in the ITCZ but it looks pretty impressive and at 9 PM holding its own...based on what the NHC has put a circle around in the past I find it hard to believe it cant see a reason to put one around this..unless ofcourse it was in the GOM then ofcourse it would right?....


YOU GOT MY VOTE ON THAT ONE TOO
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Quoting Tazmanian:
by the way evere one TD 8 looks a lot better now


Could be 5 named storms at the same time in the Pacific.....sorry i fixed it...LOL
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1239. Patrap
Nothing scarier than a well defined low running Cape Verde Buzzsaw careening wildly thru the Caribbean and into the GOM Sauna.





Vodka Martini please,..shaken,not stirred..

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125715
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


i was reading about that earlier. ouch. glad they were caught. its funny though because i never expected terrorists to attack australia, australia is liked by most of the world. the united states is hated by a lot of the world, so 9/11 happened and by looking at various recent CNN articles they are planning to do it again. im sure its not the same group though.

We are hated cause USA is our closest Allies.
This is the 2nd group caught since 9/11
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1237. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
hmm still under signal 1.. I would have raised it a little though.

Tropical Cyclone Bulletin

Here is the latest Tropical Cyclone Bulletin issued by the Hong Kong Observatory.

The Standby Signal No. 1 is in force.

This means that a tropical cyclone now centred within about 800 kilometres of Hong Kong may affect us.

At 9 a.m., Tropical Storm Goni was estimated to be about 200 kilometres south of Hong Kong (near 20.5 degrees north 114.1 degrees east) and is forecast to move northwest or north-northwest at about 10 kilometres per hour towards the coast of Guangdong.
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Can anyone say Carolina's storm? I noticed some models weaken the ridge allowing nw movement, but then the high builds back in forcing the storm west again. And with troughs that keep sweeping down this year its the reason why i mention the Carolina's.
Member Since: February 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 479
by the way evere one TD 8 looks a lot better now
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Quoting hunkerdown:
See first part of post 1214.
I read that but it doesn't ease my mind at all.
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1233. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting jrweatherman:
Fun that it looks like we might get our first storm to track and even better that it looks like if it does develop the stearing currents will take it way out to sea.
lets take a back seat on that claim once it seperates from the ITCZ and maintains expands and organizes further then we start lookin at where it going to go

right now its a AOI nothing more but a wait watch see
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IVAN's low track
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Quoting Weather456:
Some of the MJO creeping towards the wave



looking at the loops it is clear to see that the upward phase of the MJO helped 97L stay intact in mid-july
Quoting AussieStorm:
Off subject
Breaking News
There has been arrests here in Sydney and Melbourne on a possible terrorist attack on the main Army barracks and training area here in Sydney and in Melbourne. The plot was to go in and kill as many soldiers they could.
Link


i was reading about that earlier. ouch. glad they were caught. its funny though because i never expected terrorists to attack australia, australia is liked by most of the world. the united states is hated by a lot of the world, so 9/11 happened and by looking at various recent CNN articles they are planning to do it again. im sure its not the same group though.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Any time I see something trying to form so far south it reminds me of Ivan and makes me uneasy. Low and far out is not a good combination imo.
See first part of post 1214.
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1228. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
HKO website is very difficult to get access to.. must be a lot of people watching closely at Goni
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Quoting AussieStorm:
Off subject
Breaking News
There has been arrests here in Sydney and Melbourne on a possible terrorist attack on the main Army barracks and training area here in Sydney and in Melbourne. The plot was to go in and kill as many soldiers they could.
Link
A lot of sick people in the world.
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Some of the MJO creeping towards the wave

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
The Antilles need rain.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature gives us more than we ask for.
By the way, though there is fresh crow, we're keeping it in the fridge for now so as not to have to eat it ourselves.
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Quoting AussieStorm:
Off subject
Breaking News
There has been arrests here in Sydney and Melbourne on a possible terrorist attack on the main Army barracks and training area here in Sydney and in Melbourne. The plot was to go in and kill as many soldiers they could.
Link


That's terrible Aussie
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Quoting 19N81W:
sorry guys did not mean to bring back bad memories...was just commenting on its location...
Any time I see something trying to form so far south it reminds me of Ivan and makes me uneasy. Low and far out is not a good combination imo.
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1222. Patrap

GONI Floater - Funktop Color Infrared Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125715
Looks like Ana by Thursday.
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Off subject
Breaking News
There has been arrests here in Sydney and Melbourne on a possible terrorist attack on the main Army barracks and training area here in Sydney and in Melbourne. The plot was to go in and kill as many soldiers they could.
Link
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Quoting 19N81W:
Anyone remember Ivan?
Link

Sadly yes! Was a very low tracking storm...didn't gain enough latitude to cross 10 degrees until about 45 west according to this map. Think there was a strong high extending far westward though, with little to no break.
1218. Skyepony (Mod)
Cloudsat got a nice pass in the Atlantic blob earlier today..

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1217. 19N81W
sorry guys did not mean to bring back bad memories...was just commenting on its location...
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This blog problem sucks......i have to refresh twice every time....
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1215. Patrap
Tropical Floater Imagery
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Float Areas
Atlantic
East and Central Pacific
West Pacific

CURRENT TIME
(based on your computer's time):
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125715
Quoting 19N81W:
Anyone remember Ivan?


The big ridge of 2004 is not there now and the timing is much earlier in the season. Plus, hypnosis has removed Ivan from my memory !
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Quoting Chicklit:
Crow Pie:

1 crow
stuffing of your choice
salt and pepper
shortening
flour
2 Pie crust mixes
2-3 hard-boiled eggs

Stuff the crow. Loosen joints with a knife but do not cut through.
Simmer the crow in a stew-pan, with enough water to cover, until nearly tender, then season with salt and pepper. Remove meat from bones and set aside.
Prepare pie crusts as directed. (Do not bake)
Make a medium thick gravy with flour, shortening, and juices in which the crow has cooked and let cool.
Line a pie plate with pie crust and line with slices of hard-boiled egg. Place crow meat on top. Layer gravy over the crow. Place second pie dough crust over top.
Bake at 450 degrees for 1/2 hour.

Collected by Bert Christensen
Toronto, Ontario
Is this recipe also sufficient for the "wishcasters" or over hypers ?
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2515
Quoting 19N81W:
Anyone remember Ivan?


too well. and i live in GA! we had about 5 tornadoes within 10 miles of us, it was the scariest thing ive experienced besides the 2008 mothers day tornado outbreak. ivans tornadoes never actually hit us, the mothers day did
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting 19N81W:
Anyone remember Ivan?


I certainly do

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.