Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 1:00 PM
RETURN PERIODS OF TROPICAL STORM AND HURRICANE STRIKES ALONG THE GULF AND ATLANTIC COASTS
This paper analyzes 104 years (1901-2004) of tropical storm and hurricane strikes at 45 coastal locations from Brownsville, TX to Eastport, ME. Three hot spots for activity are evident, South Florida, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and the North-Central Gulf Coast. Geographical and temporal patterns of tropical activity are examined. The 1920s through the early 1950s were hyperactive in South Florida, and then in North Carolina in the 1950s and again in the 1990s. A more steady rate of occurrence occurred along the northern Gulf Coast. Return periods of tropical storm strength systems or greater range from a frequency of once every 2 years along the Outer Banks of North Carolina, every three years on the average in southeast Texas, southeastern Louisiana, and southern Florida up to about once every 10-15 years in northern New England. Hurricane return periods range from 5 years in southern Florida to 104+ years at several sheltered portions of the coastline (e.g., near Ceder Key Florida, Georgia, and the northeastern Seaboard), where locations only experienced only one strike, or no strikes through the period of record. Severe hurricane return periods range from once every15 years in South Florida to 104+, especially in New England.