, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 203-207

Hindcast hurricane characteristics on the Belize barrier reef

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Abstract

Hurricane Greta was the most intense of the 1978 Atlantic hurricanes, with a minimum central pressure of 947 hPa (mb) just prior to passage across the Belize barrier reef in the western Caribbean. At Carrie Bow Cay, along the Belize barrier reef, 12 km south of the point where the storm crossed the barrier, coral reef damage was moderate and island damage rather extensive. Felled palm trees indicated that the most destructive storm force came from the SW, from across the barrier reef lagoon. Hindcasting of hurricane winds at Carrie Bow indicated that the palms probably fell in response to the most intense storm winds from the SW. Hindcast, significant waves at Carrie Bow reached a maximum height of 10.0 m with a period of 12.7 s. The largest waves that reached Carrie Bow from across the lagoon were hindcast to have a significant wave height of 2.8 m, significant period of 7.0 s and were responsible for construction of a storm berm at Carrie Bow, facing the lagoon.