Why was the storm tide so high at Mexico Beach?
It’s a combination of multiple factors:
1. MB was on the immediate right-hand side of the storm track (most dangerous due to counter-clockwise rotation)
2. Open ocean shoreline, perpendicular to storm track
3. Surge is amplified on concave (bowl-shaped) shorelines
Other factors (wide shallow shelf, wind category, angle of approach, forward motion speed, low pressure) also played a major role across the entire area.
Map: high water mark elevations from the USGS post-storm survey of Hurricane Michael. The highest water elevations in the Panama City, Mexico Beach, and Port St. Joe areas are shown.
Authors: Blair Tormey, Katie Peek, Rob Young