Great Lakes Wave Runup Methodology Study

by David N. Barilovich, U.S. Army Engineer District, Detroit, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


The Great Lakes region has 5,480 miles of U.S. lakeshore. Located along this shoreline are approximately 340 Federal Emergency Management Agency Flood Insurance Study sites with the associated Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM's) and reports. Recent extreme Great Lakes water levels encountered in 1985-87 in conjunction with severe seasonal storms, prompted the consideration of adding wave runup into Flood Insurance Studies along the Great Lakes shorelines. Screening of these sites based on a certain bluff height criteria reduced the number of wave runup sites to 127. At these selected sites, the coastline is subject to intense wave action during storm conditions. Storm surges, individually, are not sufficient to cause the degree of damage experienced at these locations. However, high lake levels and accompanying storm rises combine to raise stillwater levels, thus allowing waves to runup the existing beaches and/or overtop structures causing shoreward flooding. This paper describes the anaylsis conducted using four wave runup methodologies. These are: combined probability; open-coast; coincident frequency analysis; and combined rise and runup coincident frequency anaylsis. Wave runup for each of three types of shorelines (vertical structure, rock revetment, and beach), typically encountered on the Great Lakes, were computed by these methodologies. Flooding during extreme storms at three test sites were evaluated using the four methodologies. This lead to the recommendaton of a single method. This method is namely the open-coast method.

Subject Headings: Insurance | Lakes | Wave runup | Site investigation | Beaches | Hydrologic models | Coastal management | Frequency response | Great Lakes

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