Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

In terms of a coastal surge, Irma was second to Matthew, but…


A senior water resources engineer in Atlanta (we’re awaiting permission to use his name) sends word that the storm surge on the Georgia coast caused by Hurricane Irma came close, but didn’t surpass the high-water mark left by Hurricane Matthew last October.

Likewise, we visited the Facebook page of a coastal specialist with the University of Georgia who writes that the NOAA tide gauge at Fort Pulaski National Monument showed a measure of 4.73 feet above the mean higher high water mark. Hurricane Matthew recorded a tide surge of 5.05 feet last October.

These two storms, 11 months apart, now hold the top two highest water levels in the tide gauge's 82-year history.

But Irma’s second-place finish would appear to be slightly deceptive. If you look at the image below, you’ll see that Matthew restricted itself to the Atlantic. Above, you can see that the center of Irma clawed its way up Florida’s west coast, and still nearly broke tide records on the Atlantic side.

Read more: Supermoon, rising sea levels put Tybee Island access under water


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About the Author

Jim Galloway is a three-decade veteran of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who writes the Political Insider blog and column.