Frequency and Magnitude Data on Coastal Storms


  • Robert Dolan
  • Bruce Hayden
  • Kenton Bosserman
  • Lorance Lisle


Extratropical storms, wave height, coastal erosion


Waves generated by extratropical storms are responsible for much of the coastal erosion that occurs along the Atlantic coast, Between 1942 and 1984, 1,349 storms producing waves high enough to cause measurable shoreline erosion of an open coast beach were investigated. In this report we provide a tabulation of the 1,349 storms. Storms with winds of sufficient velocity to generate deep-water wave heights over 5' (1.6 m) occur on average every 10 days; a height of 11' (3.4 m), every 3 months; one of at least 17' (5.2 m), every three years; and a deep-water wave height greater than 21' (7 m), every 25 years. The months of December, January. February and March, each averaging 4 storms, comprise the period of maximum frequency; 51 percent of all storms occur during these four months.

Author Biographies

Robert Dolan

Bruce Hayden

Kenton Bosserman

Lorance Lisle






Technical Communications