Tropical Storm Hermine
Storm Surge Summary Sept. 6–7 2010

Peak Water Rises Occur at Low Tide, but Impacts Felt in Channels

Rapidly increasing winds turning from east to south as the center of Tropical Storm Hermine scooted across Cameron, Willacy, and into western Kenedy County overnight on September 6th and 7th brought a push of water onto the beaches and into the Brownsville Ship Channel. For primary residential and beach areas, the push occurred near low tide (first two graphs below), which produced no inundation issues, but water was able to reach the dune line and shut down vehicle traffic at public beach access points beginning during the afternoon of the 6th and continuing overnight.

More interesting is what occurred when the water was forced through the thinning Laguna Madre and the Brownsville ship channel. The third graph below shows a much larger spike in water levels at Rincon del San Jose (Kenedy County) where the Laguna Madre runs through sand, salt, and mud flats on its way to Baffin Bay. Data suggest that a surge perhaps as high as 4 feet occurred during the pre dawn hours of September 7th, near the time of high tide. Reports from the Port of Brownsville indicated heavy wave action within the channel, with waves breaking over channel barriers around the time of Hermine’s passage to the west.

Graphic of tides at NOAA gaging point at Port Isabel during Tropical Storm Hermine's passage(click to enlarge)
Graphic of tides at South Padre Island Coast Guard Station during Tropical Storm Hermine's passage(click to enlarge)
Graphic of tides at TCOON Rincon del San Jose gage during Tropical Storm Hermine's passage(click to enlarge)
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