"In the last decade, gulf coast communities have been devastated by many powerful hurricanes including Charley (2004), Ivan (2004), Katrina (2005), Rita (2005), and Ike (2008). Waves and surge accompanying these storms resulted in widespread beach and dune erosion and extensive overwash (Sallenger and others, 2006; Doran and others, 2009a; Doran and others, 2009b). There exists a clear need to identify areas of our coastline that are likely to experience extreme erosion during a hurricane. This information can be used to determine vulnerability levels associated with building houses or infrastructure on land that shifts and moves with each storm landfall. A decade of research on storm-driven coastal change hazards within the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards project has provided the data and modeling capabilities to produce the first regional assessment of the vulnerability of coastlines to extreme erosion during hurricane landfall. Vulnerability is defined in terms of the probability for coastal change, predicted using a USGS-developed storm-impact scale that compares predicted elevations of hurricane-induced water levels to measured elevations of coastal topography (Sallenger, 2000). This approach defines four coastal change regimes that describe the dominant interactions between beach morphology and storm processes and resulting modes of coastal change. Here, we focus on the sandy beaches on the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coastline. These beaches are among the most vulnerable in the Nation due to low coastal elevations and frequent hurricane landfalls. "
Open-File Report No. 2012-1084
U.S. Geological Survey: http://www.usgs.gov/