Advertisement

Archival Evidence of Secular Changes in Georgia Hurricanes: 1750–2012

  • Mark R. Welford
  • Brian H. Bossak
  • Ethan J. Gibney
Chapter

Abstract

North Atlantic hurricanes present the greatest recurring meteorological hazard along the southern and eastern shores of the USA. Since the late 1800s, in contrast to much of the Southeastern USA, the Georgia coast has experienced infrequent hurricane landfalls, particularly in recent decades. As a result, coastal storm preparedness complacency appears to be rampant along the Georgia coastline. Both local and state governments were unprepared for shadow evacuation during Hurricane Floyd in 1999. The study described here includes an examination of temporal and spatial trends in hurricane landfall along the Georgia coast from 1750 to 2012. Since 1750, 18 of the 24 recorded hurricanes that made landfall along the Georgia coast occurred between 1801 and 1900, yet the hurricane intensities have declined since 1851. Most critically our data establishes that the mean location of landfall along the Georgia coast has shifted 60 km north and hence closer to Savannah. Future efforts to re-characterize hurricane surge zones and improve evacuation infrastructure along the Georgia coast must reevaluate this threat.

Keywords

Tropical cyclones Hurricanes Geographic information systems (GIS) Coastal hazards Climate change Georgia Spatial analysis 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This project was funded by the Georgia Sea Grant, sub-award RR746-063/4941006.

We acknowledge and thank Taryn Mason, Steven LaVoie, and Walter Fraser Jr. for their important contributions to this study. We would also like to thank Sarah Keihany and Damon Mullis for their significant work in collecting the historical (pre-1851) data for this project.

References

  1. Baker EJ (2000) Southeast U.S. hurricane evacuation traffic study behavioral analysis. Hazards Management Group, TallahasseeGoogle Scholar
  2. Bossak BH, Keihany S, Mullis D, Gibnery E, Welford MR (2014) Coastal Georgia is not immune: hurricane history, 1851–2012. Southeast Geogr 54(3):323–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chatham County Emergency Management (2012) Evacuation information. http://www.chathamemergency.org/evacuation-information/find-your-evacuation-zone.php. Accessed 13 Jan 2016
  4. Chenoweth M (2006) A reassessment of historical Atlantic basin tropical cyclone activity, 1700–1855. Climate Change 76:169–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chenoweth M (2014) A new compilation of North Atlantic tropical cyclones, 1851–98. J Clim 27(23):8674–8685CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chenoweth M, Divine D (2008) A document-based 318-year record of tropical cyclones in the Lesser Antilles, 1690–2007. Geochem Geophys Geosyst 9(8), Q08013. doi: 10.1029/2008GC002066 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chenoweth M, Mock CJ (2013) Hurricane “Amanda”: rediscovery of a forgotten U.S. Civil War Florida Hurricane. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 94:1735–1742CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Collins JM, Roache DR (2010) The inactive 2009 hurricane season in the North Atlantic Basin: an analysis of environmental conditions. Nat Weather Dig 34(2):117–128Google Scholar
  9. Dash N, Gladwin H (2007) Evacuation decision making and behavioral responses: individual and household. Nat Hazards Rev 8(3):69–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Diffenbaugh NS, Scherer M, Trapp RJ (2013) Robust increases in severe thunderstorm environments in response to greenhouse forcing. PNAS 110(41):16361–16366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dow K, Cutter S (2002) Emerging hurricane evacuation issues: Hurricane Floyd and South Carolina. Nat Hazards Rev 3(1):12–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dunn GE, Miller BI (1960) Atlantic hurricanes. Louisiana State University Press, Baton RougeGoogle Scholar
  13. Elsner JB, Liu K-B, Kocher B (2000) Spatial variation in major U.S. hurricane activity: statistics and a physical mechanism. J Clim 13:2293–2305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Elsner JB, Jagger TH, K-b L (2008) Comparison of hurricane return levels using historical and geological records. J Appl Meteorol Climatol 7:368–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ercolani C, Muller J, Collins J, Saverese M, Squiccimara L (2015) Intense Southwest Florida hurricane landfalls over the past 1,000 years. Quatern Sci Rev 126:17–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fernandez-Partagas J, Diaz HF (1996) Atlantic hurricanes in the second half of the nineteenth century. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 77:2899–2906CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fraser WJ Jr (2006) Low country hurricanes. The University of Athens Press, AthensGoogle Scholar
  18. Garcia-Herrera R, Diaz HF, Garcia RR, Prieto MR, Barriopedro D, Moyano R, Hernandez E (2007) A chronology of El Nino events from primary documentary sources in Northern Peru. J Clim 21:1948–1962CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gladwin H, Peacock WG (1997) Warning and evacuation: a night for hard houses. In: Morrow BH, Gladwin H (eds) Hurricane Andrew: gender, ethnicity and the sociology of disasters. Routledge, New York, pp 52–74Google Scholar
  20. Glynn County (2015) 2015 Draft FIRM Maps – working set. http://glynncounty.org/index.aspx?NID=1775. Accessed 13 Jan 2016
  21. Goldenberg SB, Landsea CW, Mestas-Nunez AM, Gray WM (2001) The recent increase in Atlantic Hurricane activity: causes and implication. Science 293:474–479CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gray WM (1990) Strong association between West African Rainfall and U.S. landfall of intense hurricanes. Science 249(4974):1251–1256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gray WM, Sheaffer JD, Landsea CW (1997) Climate trends associated with multi-decadal variability of Atlantic hurricane activity. In: Diaz HF, Pulwarty RS (eds) Hurricanes, climate and socioeconomic impacts. Springer, Berlin, pp 15–53Google Scholar
  24. Hakkinen S (1999) Variability of the simulated meridional heat transport in the North Atlantic for the period 1951–1993. J Geophys Res 104:10991–11007CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hobbs L (2015) History on homeowners’ side with new FEMA flood map in Georgia. The Brunswick News. September 2, 2015. http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/History-on-Homeowners-Side-Wth-New-FEMA-Flood-Map.html. Accessed 13 Jan 2016
  26. HVRI (2014) Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute http://webra.cas.sc.edu/hvri/feature/aug2013_dom.aspx. Accessed 20 Aug 2015
  27. Kaiser C (2014) Are you complacent about Hurricane preparedness? Disaster Planning Blog http://www.p.firestorm.com/Blog/are-floridians-getting-complacent-about-hurricane-preparedness.html. Accessed 13 Jan 2016
  28. K-b L, Fearn ML (2000) Reconstruction of prehistoric landfall frequencies of catastrophic hurricanes in Northwestern Florida from lake sediment records. Quatern Res 54(2):238–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Keim BD, Muller RA, Stone GW (2007) Spatiotemporal patterns and return periods of tropical storm and hurricane strikes from Texas to Maine. J Clim 20:3498–3509CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Klotzbach P, Gray W, Fogarty C (2015) Active hurricanes era at its end? Nat Geosci 8:737–738CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Knutson TR, McBride JL, Chan J, Emanuel K, Holland G, Landsea C, Held I, Kossin JP, Srivastava AK, Sugi M (2010) Tropical cyclones and climate change. Nat Geosci. doi: 10.1038/ngeo779 Google Scholar
  32. Kushnir Y (1994) Interdecadal variations in North Atlantic sea surface temperature and associated atmospheric conditions. J Clim 7:141–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Landsea CW, Nicholls N, Gray WM, Avilia LA (1996) Quiet early 1990s continues trend of fewer intense Atlantic hurricanes. Geophys Res Lett 23:1697–1700CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. LaVoie S (2011) An analysis of Atlantic hurricane seasons in the Pre-HURDAT Era (1751–1850). In: Abstracts of the 91st annual general meeting of American Meteorological SocietyGoogle Scholar
  35. Lu H, Liu K (2003) Phytoliths of common grasses in the coastal environments of southeastern USA. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 58:587–600CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ludlum DM (1963) Early American hurricanes, 1492–1870. American Meteorological Society, BostonGoogle Scholar
  37. Maue RN (2009) Northern hemisphere tropical cyclone activity. Geophys Res Lett 36, L05805. doi: 10.1029/2008GL035946 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Maue RN (2011) Recent historically low global tropical cyclone activity. Geophys Res Lett 38, L14803. doi: 10.1029/2011GL047711 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Millas JC (1968) Hurricanes of the Caribbean and adjacent regions, 1492–1800. Academy of the Arts and Sciences of the Americas, MiamiGoogle Scholar
  40. Miller DL, Mora CI, Grissino-Mayer HD, Mock CJ, Uhle ME, Sharp Z (2005) Tree-ring isotope records of tropical cyclone activity. PNAS 103(39):14294–14297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mock CJ (2004) Tropical cyclone reconstructions from documentary records: examples for South Caroline, United States. In: Murname RJ, Liu K (eds) Hurricanes and typhoons: past, present and future. Columbia University Press, New York, pp 121–147Google Scholar
  42. Mock CJ (2008) Tropical cyclone variations in Louisiana, U.S.A., since the late eighteenth century. Geochem Geophys Geosyst 9(5):Q05V02. doi: 10.1029/2007GC001846 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mock CJ, Chenoweth M, Altamirano I, Rodgers MD, García-Herrera R (2010) The Great New Orleans Hurricane of 1812. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 91:1653–1663CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Poey A (1855) A chronological table comprising 400 cyclonic hurricanes which have occurred in the West Indies and in the North Atlantic within 362 years, from 1493–1855. J R Geogr Soc 25:291–328Google Scholar
  45. Sandrik A, Landsea CW (2003) Chronological listing of tropical cyclones affecting North Florida and Coastal Georgia 1565–1899. http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/Landsea/history/index.html. Accessed 13 Jan 2016
  46. Savannah Chamber of Commerce (2015) http://www.savannahchamber.com/economic-development/tourism. Accessed 13 Jan 2016
  47. Scheitlin KN, Elsner JB, Malmstadt JC, Hodges RE, Jagger TH (2010) Toward increased utilization of historical hurricane chronologies. J Geophys Res 115:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sullivan CL (1986) Hurricanes of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Gulf, BiloxiGoogle Scholar
  49. Tannehill IR (1938) Hurricanes, their nature and history. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  50. Trapp RJ, Diffenbaugh NS, Brooks HE, Baldwin ME, Robinson ED, Pal JS (2007) Changes in severe thunderstorms during the 21st century caused by anthropogenically enhanced global radiative forcing. PNAS 104(50):19719–19723CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Trenberth KE, Hoar TJ (1996) The 1990–1995 El Niño-Southern Oscillation event: longest on record. Geophys Res Lett 23(1):57–60Google Scholar
  52. U.S. Census Bureau (1995) Population of counties by decennial census: 1900 to 1990. http://www.census.gov/population/cencounts/ga190090.txt. Accessed 13 Jan 2016
  53. U.S. Census Bureau (2000) Summary File 1 (SF 1) 100-percent data. http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=bkmk. Accessed 13 Jan 2016
  54. U.S. Census Bureau (2015) State & county quickfacts http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/13000.html. Accessed 13 Jan 2016
  55. Virmani JI, Weisberg RH (2006) The 2005 hurricane season: an echo of the past or a harbinger of the future? Geophys Res Lett 33, L05707. doi: 10.1029/2005GL025517 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wang X, Kapucu N (2007) Public complacency under repeated emergency threats: some empirical evidence. J Public Admin Res Theory 18:57–78. doi: 10.1093/jopart/mum001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Webster P, Holland G, Curry J, Chang H (2005) Changes in tropical cyclone number, duration, and intensity in a warming environment. Science 309(5742):1844–1846CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wolshon B, Urbina E, Levitan M (2001) National review of hurricane evacuation plans and policies. LSU Hurricane Center Report, www.hurricane.lsu.edu. Accessed 13 Jan 2016
  59. Woodruff JD, Donnelly JP, Emanuel K, Lane P (2008) Assessing sedimentary records of paleohurricane activity using modeled hurricane climatology. Geochem Geophys Geosyst 9:Q09V10. doi: 10.1029/2008GC002043 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Zandbergen PA (2009) Exposure of US counties to Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes, 1851–2003. Nat Hazards 48:83–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark R. Welford
    • 1
  • Brian H. Bossak
    • 2
  • Ethan J. Gibney
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Geology and GeographyGeorgia Southern UniversityStatesboroUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health and Human PerformanceCollege of CharlestonCharlestonUSA
  3. 3.NOAA National Weather Service Forecast OfficeSan DiegoUSA

Personalised recommendations