Estimating tsunami inundation from hurricane storm surge predictions along the US gulf coast Academic Article uri icon


  • 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Gulf of Mexico (GOM) coasts have been included in the U.S. Tsunami Warning System since 2005. While the tsunami risk for the GOM is low, tsunamis generated by local submarine landslides pose the greatest potential threat, as evidenced by several large ancient submarine mass failures identified in the northern GOM basin. Given the lack of significant historical tsunami evidence in the GOM, the potential threat of landslide tsunamis in this region is assessed from a worst-case scenario perspective based on a set of events including the large ancient failures and most likely extreme events determined by a probabilistic approach. Since tsunamis are not well-understood along the Gulf Coast, we investigate tsunami inundation referenced to category-specific hurricane storm surge levels, which are relatively well established along the Gulf Coast, in order to provide information for assessing the potential threat of tsunamis which is more understandable and accessible to emergency managers. Based on tsunami inundation studies prepared for the communities of South Padre Island, TX, Galveston, TX, Mobile, AL, Panama City, FL, and Tampa, FL, we identify regional trends of tsunami inundation in terms of modeled storm surge inundation. The general trends indicate that tsunami inundation can well exceed the level of storm surge from major hurricanes in open beachfront and barrier island regions, while more interior areas are less threatened. Such information can be used to better prepare for tsunami events as well as provide a preliminary estimate of tsunami hazard in locations where detailed tsunami inundation studies have not been completed.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Pampell-Manis, A., Horrillo, J., & Figlus, J.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Pampell-Manis, Alyssa||Horrillo, Juan||Figlus, Jens

publication date

  • August 2016