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Coastal & Marine Geology Program > Coastal Classification Mapping Project > Open File Report 2005-1151

Coastal Classification Atlas

Alabama-Mississippi Coastal Classification Maps - Perdido Pass to Cat Island

USGS Open File Report 2005-1151

Robert A. Morton, Russell L. Peterson

Report Home Maps Overview Mapping Methods Coastal Classifications Geologic Setting Coastal Processes Coastal Vulnerability Classification Summary References


Aerial photo of the Mississippi coastline.
Figure 1. Mississippi coastline. [larger version]
The Nation's rapidly growing coastal population requires reliable information regarding the vulnerability of coastal regions to storm impacts. This has created a need for classifying coastal lands and evaluating storm hazard vulnerability. Government officials and resource managers responsible for dealing with natural hazards also need accurate assessments of potential storm impacts in order to make informed decisions before, during, and after major storm events. Both economic development and coastal damage mitigation require integrated models of storm parameters, hazard vulnerability, and expected coastal responses. Thus storm hazard vulnerability assessments constitute one of the fundamental components of forecasting storm impacts.

Each year at least 10 to12 named hurricanes and tropical storms will be the focus of national attention. Of particular interest are intense hurricanes (categories 3 to 5 of the Saffir-Simpson scale) that have the potential to cause substantial economic and environmental damage to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. These coastal regions include some of the largest metropolitan areas in the country and they continue to experience rapid population growth. Based on reports in the popular media, there is a general lack of knowledge regarding how different coastal segments will respond to the same storm or how the same coastal segment will respond differently depending on storm conditions.

The primary purpose of the USGS National Assessment of Coastal Change Project is to provide accurate representations of pre-storm ground conditions for areas that are designated high priority because they have dense populations or valuable resources that are at risk. Another purpose of the project is to develop a broad coastal classification that, with only minor modification, can be applied to most coastal regions in the United States.

Related Link:

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale
National Hurricane Center

Coastal & Marine Geology Program > Coastal Classification Mapping Project > Open File Report 2005-1151

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