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Meteotsunami generation by tropical cyclone rainbands: nearshore effects of rainband dynamics and storm surge
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  • Katherine Anarde,
  • Wei Cheng,
  • Marion Tissier,
  • Jens Figlus,
  • Juan Horrillo
Katherine Anarde
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

Corresponding Author:kanarde@unc.edu

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Wei Cheng
Texas A&M University at Galveston
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Marion Tissier
Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology
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Jens Figlus
Texas A&M University
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Juan Horrillo
Texas A&M University at Galveston
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During tropical cyclones, meteotsunami waves can be triggered by atmospheric disturbances accompanying tropical cyclone rainbands (TCRs). Due to a paucity of high resolution field data along open coasts during these extreme events, relatively little is known about meteotsunami generation by TCRs and the coastal impact of these wave phenomena. Here we link high-resolution field measurements of sea-level and air pressure from Hurricane Harvey (2017) with a numerical model to show that large drops in air pressure accompanying trains of very narrow TCRs can initiate meteotsunami O(40 cm) in height along open coasts distant from the storm center (>200 km). The resonant-amplification and propagation of meteotsunami generated by pressure forcing is highly dependent on oceanographic (storm surge, bathymetry, and coastal morphology) and atmospheric factors (variable TCR forward speed, TCR path of translation). We discover that meteotsunami hazard can extend several days before and after hurricane landfall, and that meteotsunami are more ubiquitous along the open coast than tidal gauge records suggest, likely due to the highly-localized propagation and inherent structure of TCRs. This combined field and numerical study identifies the potential, but sometimes highly localized conditions necessary, for meteotsunami to modify storm processes (e.g., overwash, beach erosion) and serve as a coastal flood hazard during hurricane impact.