Hawaii & Alaska
Don McLeish

HI - High wave flooding in West Maui predicted through new online tool | University of Hawaiʻi System News

A high-resolution, real-time wave run-up forecast tool, able to predict coastal flooding up to six days in advance, has been developed for the West Maui shoreline. The Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) created the novel online tool, which will help increase preparedness and coastal resiliency for West Maui community members, property owners, businesses, as well as state and county officials.

A high-resolution, real-time wave run-up forecast tool, able to predict coastal flooding up to six days in advance, has been developed for the West Maui shoreline. The Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) created the novel online tool, which will help increase preparedness and coastal resiliency for West Maui community members, property owners, businesses, as well as state and county officials.

West Maui’s shoreline has experienced an increase in wave plus tide-driven flooding in recent years, and these events are expected to grow in numbers and duration due to sea-level rise and changing wave energies. Chronic coastal erosion is leading to severe damage of properties and the associated land-based sediment impairs the nearshore water quality. Wave overtopping and flooding also pose a major safety concern to infrastructure, in particular to Honoapiʻilani Highway, the only access point to West Maui.

“West Maui has an extremely complex nearshore environment. Waves, currents and water levels are influenced by the highly variable ocean floor, which ranges from deep ocean channels to shallow plateaus. This dynamic environment can lead to significant, yet unexpected, wave run-up and coastal flooding,” said co-investigator Douglas Luther, Department of Oceanography at University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST). “The areas of impact and the severity of impact are not only a function of wave height, wave direction and tides. Our modeling efforts capture all the physical drivers that contribute to wave run-up, allowing us to shed light on this intricate interplay.”

The public is invited to join on Tuesday, June 8, 4–5 p.m. for an informational presentation via Zoom to introduce the new tool and answer questions. Register online to receive log-in information.

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