Faculty Publications

Archival Evidence of Secular Changes in Georgia Hurricanes: 1750-2012

Document Type

Book Chapter

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Hurricanes and Climate Change



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North Atlantic hurricanes present the greatest recurring meteorological hazard along the southern and eastern shores of the USA. Since the late 1800s, in contrast to much of the Southeastern USA, the Georgia coast has experienced infrequent hurricane landfalls, particularly in recent decades. As a result, coastal storm preparedness complacency appears to be rampant along the Georgia coastline. Both local and state governments were unprepared for shadow evacuation during Hurricane Floyd in 1999. The study described here includes an examination of temporal and spatial trends in hurricane landfall along the Georgia coast from 1750 to 2012. Since 1750, 18 of the 24 recorded hurricanes that made landfall along the Georgia coast occurred between 1801 and 1900, yet the hurricane intensities have declined since 1851. Most critically our data establishes that the mean location of landfall along the Georgia coast has shifted 60 km north and hence closer to Savannah. Future efforts to re-characterize hurricane surge zones and improve evacuation infrastructure along the Georgia coast must reevaluate this threat.


Department of Geography

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