For the Atlantic Basin area, which includes the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico, the official hurricane season is nearing its end now. The season typically runs from June 1st to November 30th. This 2016 season has been the most active and costliest since 2012 and the deadliest since 2005. There have been three major hurricanes this year with the strongest storm causing destruction and surge flooding affecting the Caribbean and Atlantic coastal states of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Unfortunately, these storms can happen every year.
In the US, there are eight major cities on the US Eastern and Southern coasts highly vulnerable to destruction and flooding due to extreme storms for many reasons, including the lack of seawalls or seawalls in disrepair. The eighth largest city, Miami, has even been flooding when there is not a storm. According to an article posted on the CNBC website last year, “Why Miami is mostly unprotected from hurricanes,” the author, Robert Ferris, states, “…even above the ground and water level, Miami isn’t well protected. The area has a few seawalls in select places, but nothing resembling a complete levee system. The city also is low lying.” In addition, he states “…there is still little shielding the city from the ocean and the path of ocean hurricanes.”
One reason for this is due to the difficultly and expense to install seawalls into the rock beneath Miami which is limestone. Typically steel sheet piles would be the only material to build seawalls that could drive through the rock. However, a new, hybrid and less expensive sheet piling system has been developed and successfully installed in many areas in the Florida Keys that has the same rocky conditions and could be installed for seawalls in Miami as well. With this innovative wall system, called Truline, the seawall can be pin-piled into the rock and filled with steel-reinforced concrete. Essentially, this wall system creates a strong concrete wall with long-term vinyl protection. For harsh saltwater environments, Truline offers the greatest longevity available, when properly designed and installed will have a 75+ year design life. The Truline seawall, as shown in this photo, was undamaged after being hit by Hurricane Wilma in 2006.