A Geospatial Analysis: Nearshore Impacts of Tropical Storm Irma and Hurricane Matthew, St. Catherines Island, Georgia

Authors: Albert Killingsworth*, Georgia State University, Brian Kevin Meyer, Georgia State University, Steven Dobson, Georgia State University
Topics: Coastal and Marine, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Shoreline dynamics, Barrier island, GIS
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the shoreline dynamics and environmental change of the St. Catherines Island shoreline as a result of Hurricane Matthew (07-08 October 2016) and Tropical Storm Irma (11-12 September 2017). St. Catherines Island is a barrier island located approximately 50 kilometers south of Savannah, Georgia. Both storm systems had a comparable wind speed velocity, but the wind direction varied. Hurricane Matthew had a northwest to southeast wind direction, whereas Tropical Storm Irma had a more east to west direction resulting in greater fetch and an on-shore storm surge that was comparable to the Category 2 hurricane or approximately 2.5 meters of elevation. The shoreline change evaluation was accomplished through the collection of ground control data via GPS, remote sensing data and the application of an updated shoreline model (1859-2018). Efforts were completed to document and quantify the impacts to the nearshore environments of the island from the storms. Impacts were assessed through the measurement of the Net Shoreline Movement (NSM) calculated along the shoreface at 200-meter spacings. The Hurricane Matthew and Tropical Storm Irma NSM data along with the short-term shoreline rates were used to calculate the years of average change along the shoreline in response to the storms, indicating that Hurricane Matthew represented an average of 3.7 years of erosion and Tropical Storm Irma and represented an average of 3.2 years of erosion.

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