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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 18, issue 6 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 1681-1701, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-18-1681-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 20 Jun 2018

Research article | 20 Jun 2018

Assessment of coastal flooding and associated hydrodynamic processes on the south-eastern coast of Mexico, during Central American cold surge events

Wilmer Rey1, Paulo Salles2,3, E. Tonatiuh Mendoza2,3, Alec Torres-Freyermuth2,3, and Christian M. Appendini2,3 Wilmer Rey et al.
  • 1Programa de Maestría y Doctorado en Ingeniería, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City 04510, Mexico
  • 2Laboratorio de Ingeniería y Procesos Costeros, Instituto de Ingeniería, UNAM, México, Puerto de abrigo s/n, 92718 Sisal, México
  • 3Laboratorio Nacional de Resiliencia Costera (LANRESC), CONACyT, Yucatán, Mexico

Abstract. Coastal flooding in the northern Yucatán Peninsula is mainly associated with storm surge events triggered by high-pressure cold front systems. This study evaluates the hydrodynamic processes of the Chelem lagoon, Mexico and the flooding threat from cold fronts for the neighbouring town of Progreso. A 30-year water-level hindcast (excluding wave set-up) was performed because of the lack of long-term tide gauge records. In order to assess the relative contribution from wave set-up and residual and astronomical tides to total flooding, the two worst storm scenarios in terms of maximum residual tide (Event A) and maximum water level (Event B) were simulated. Numerical results suggest that during Event A the wave set-up contribution reaches 0.35 at the coast and 0.17m inside the lagoon, and these values are smaller for Event B (0.30 and 0.14m, respectively). Results of the effect of the tidal phase on wave set-up and residual sea level show that (i) the wave set-up contribution increases during ebb tide and decreases during flood tide at the Chelem inlet, (ii) the residual tide is larger (smaller) near low (high) or receding (rising) tide, and (iii) maximum flooding occurs when the storm peak coincides with rising or high tide. The numerical results confirm the important role of wave set-up on the assessment of coastal flooding in micro-tidal coastal environments.

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Storms are common in tropical coasts and can cause dangerous flooding. To assess coastal flood hazards and the mechanisms controlling water levels, this study uses numerical modelling, applied to the north-western Yucatán Peninsula. Results suggest that (a) wave set-up is tidally modulated and can be an important process (up to 14 % of the extreme water levels), and (b) the tidal phase (low, high, rising, receding) and its occurrence probability have to be taken into account for risk assessment.
Storms are common in tropical coasts and can cause dangerous flooding. To assess coastal flood...
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