The impact of hurricane Ike on the Texas Gulf Coast – Bolivar Peninsula and Anahuac National Wildlife Reserve, High Island
Bolivar Peninsula
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Aerial photography of Bolivar Peninsula, TX, on September 9, 2008 (top) and September 15, 2008, two days after landfall of Hurricane Ike (bottom). U.S. Geological Survey.

National Geographic video clip showing the effect of the storm surge (wind-driven abnormally high tide)

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Coast Guard Fly-Over - The image above was taken Sunday (9/14/2008), and shows a lone house in Gilchrist, Texas, on the Bolivar Peninsula.

NEJohnston, 1/31/2009      (click here for lg. image)

Storm Surge
"The greatest potential for loss of life related to a hurricane is from the storm surge."

Storm surge is simply water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the storm. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides to create the hurricane storm tide, which can increase the mean water level 15 feet or more (see diagram, lower left). In addition, wind driven waves are superimposed on the storm tide. This rise in water level can cause severe flooding in coastal areas, particularly when the storm tide coincides with the normal high tides. Because much of the United States' densely populated Atlantic and Gulf Coast coastlines lie less than 10 feet above mean sea level, the danger from storm tides is tremendous.

Wave and current action associated with the tide also causes extensive damage. Water weighs approximately 1,700 pounds per cubic yard; extended pounding by frequent waves can demolish any structure not specifically designed to withstand such forces.

The currents created by the tide combine with the action of the waves to severe

Effects of Erosion

ly erode beaches and coastal highways. Many buildings withstand hurricane force winds until t

heir foundations, undermined by erosion, are weakened and fail.

In estuaries and bayous, intrusions of salt water endanger the public health and send animals, such as snakes, to flee from flooded areas and take refuge in urban areas. (
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