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  1. Abstract

    Sea level rise and intense hurricane events make the East and Gulf Coasts of the United States increasingly vulnerable to flooding, which necessitates the development of computational models for accurate water level simulation in these areas to safeguard the coastal wellbeing. With this regard, a model framework for water level simulation over coastal transition zone during hurricane events is built in this study. The model takes advantage of the National Water Model’s strength in simulating rainfall–runoff process, and D‐Flow Flexible Mesh’s ability to support unstructured grid in hydrodynamic processes simulation with storm surges/tides information from the Advanced CIRCulation model. We apply the model on the Delaware Estuary to simulate extreme water level and to investigate the contribution of different physical components to it during Hurricane Isabel (2003). The model shows satisfactory performance with an average Willmott skill of 0.965. Model results suggest that storm surge is the most dominating component of extreme water level with an average contribution of 78.16%, second by the astronomical tide with 19.52%. While the contribution of rivers is mainly restricted to the upper part of the estuary upstream of Schuylkill River, local wind‐induced water level is more pronounced with values larger than 0.2 m overmore »most part of the estuary.

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