Semester of Graduation

FALL 2023


Master of Science (MS)


LSU Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



This research examines tropical cyclone translation speed as a factor in storm tide and surge height upon landfall on the United States Gulf Coast. Understanding the effect of translation speed on peak storm tide/surge height is needed to better prepare for and predict future damage from tropical cyclone events. Tropical cyclone data are taken from hourly interpolated best-track HURDAT2 data from 1970–2021. This study uses the HURDAT2 hourly interpolated observation data points (24-hours) pre-landfall to landfall. Translation speed is calculated based on the distance traversed between hourly points. Peak storm tide and storm surge data are taken from SURGEDAT from each storm in the database. In this study, the translation speed of landfalling hurricanes is calculated at 6-hour observations (denoted at a single point) before landfall. The periods of interest in this study are hours 0- (landfall), 6-, 12-, 18-, 24-hours before landfall, and an average of all points in the 24 hours before landfall. Correlation and linear regression are used to evaluate the relationship between maximum peak storm tide and storm surge and tropical cyclone translation speed. Peak storm surge is not correlated with translation speed at any pre-landfall observation hours, but peak storm tide shows significant relationships at Hour 0, 12-, and 24-. Storm tide data violated linear regression assumptions, thus, to try to normalize the data to fit the linear regression assumptions a log-linear regression model is used. The log-linear regression model results at the Hour 24 translation speed had the highest significance with peak storm tide. Results showed a positi2ve relationship between translation speed increases and peak storm tide height. That is, as tropical cyclone translation speed (knots) increases, the peak storm tide height (meters) also increases. Those estimating impacts from tropical cyclones will likely find this information useful for strategic planning, forecasting impacts along the Gulf of Mexico coast, and future research.



Committee Chair

Trepanier, Jill