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Hydrodynamic impacts of winter storms and hurricanes on a two-inlet system
  • Lauren Kittell-Porter,
  • Anna Wargula,
  • Meng Xia
Lauren Kittell-Porter
University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Corresponding Author:lakittellporter@umes.edu

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Anna Wargula
United States Naval Academy
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Meng Xia
University of Maryland Eastern Shore
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The Ocean City Inlet was created in the early 1930s by a strong hurricane mobilizing the sediment and thus separating Ocean City from Assateague Island, making the Maryland coastal bay a two-inlet system, with Chincoteague Inlet 60 km to the south. Ecological and hydrodynamic impacts of tropical storms on coastal regions have been well-documented. However, little work has been conducted comparing the impacts of extratropical winter storms with hurricanes, specifically at two-inlet systems. Observed winds, water levels, and waves from NOAA’s National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) and predicted data from the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) and Finite Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM) models were compiled for 2016 to 2018 to compare the magnitude of forces driving volumetric flow during tropical and extratropical storms. Although the inlets are around 60 km apart, the water level responses were similar during the three blizzard events examined. During each blizzard, the water level increased at the initial arrival of the low-pressure system and then decreased at both inlets over the course of the storm, potentially owing to sustained wind pushing water out of the inlets. The wind and wave forcing on both inlets will be compared using field data to validate modeled data for one blizzard and hurricane per each year. This study, along with the validated hydrodynamic models that were utilized, will assist in predicting environmental stressors and potential influences on shoreline zones under varying storm intensities in two-inlet systems.