Hurricane Gonzalo: A Fabian Redo?
As I write this, hurricane Gonzalo is 150 miles SSW of Bermuda. Its winds have weakened a bit to 125 MPH with a central pressure of 947 mb. It appears to be shaping up similar to hurricane Fabian in 2003. Fabian passed Bermuda with sustained winds of 115 MPH and a central pressure of 950 mb.
I had previously made this storm surge simulation at Bermuda for Fabian.
Unlike many continental or Caribbean locations, Bermuda is basically an isolated mountain in the ocean lacking spatially extensive shallow water shelves offshore. Storm surge you know, results from a ‘banking up’ of water against the coast. The slope of the bank-up is very slight, needing a 10 km reach of shallow water offshore to build 1 m of surge. Bermuda lacks such conditions at least on three sides, so storm surge finds it a difficult place to form. Moreover Bermuda is streamlined like a sports car. Surge tries to bank-up against it, but water just slips around. The Fabian simulation produced a maximum surge of about 1.2 m. My guess is that Gonzalo will do the same.
Steven N. Ward Santa Cruz
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John Rundle is a Distinguished Professor of Physics and Geology at UC Davis and the Executive Director of the APEC Collaboration for Earthquake Simulations. He chaired the Board of Advisors for the Southern California Earthquake Center from 1994 to 1996. Read John's blog.