McKeon Kelly

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  • Article
    1,050 years of hurricane strikes on Long Island in the Bahamas
    (American Geophysical Union, 2016-02-16) Wallace, Elizabeth J. ; Donnelly, Jeffrey P. ; van Hengstum, Peter J. ; Winkler, Tyler S. ; McKeon, Kelly ; MacDonald, Dana ; D'Entremont, Nicole ; Sullivan, Richard M. ; Woodruff, Jonathan D. ; Hawkes, Andrea D. ; Maio, Christopher V.
    Sedimentary records of past hurricane activity indicate centennial-scale periods over the past millennium with elevated hurricane activity. The search for the underlying mechanism behind these active hurricane periods is confounded by regional variations in their timing. Here, we present a new high resolution paleohurricane record from The Bahamas with a synthesis of published North Atlantic records over the past millennium. We reconstruct hurricane strikes over the past 1,050 years in sediment cores from a blue hole on Long Island in The Bahamas. Coarse-grained deposits in these cores date to the close passage of seven hurricanes over the historical interval. We find that the intensity and angle of approach of these historical storms plays an important role in inducing storm surge near the site. Our new record indicates four active hurricane periods on Long Island that conflict with published records on neighboring islands (Andros and Abaco Island). We demonstrate these three islands do not sample the same storms despite their proximity, and we compile these reconstructions together to create the first regional compilation of annually resolved paleohurricane records in The Bahamas. Integrating our Bahamian compilation with compiled records from the U.S. coastline indicates basin-wide increased storminess during the Medieval Warm Period. Afterward, the hurricane patterns in our Bahamian compilation match those reconstructed along the U.S. East Coast but not in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. This disconnect may result from shifts in local environmental conditions in the North Atlantic or shifts in hurricane populations from straight-moving to recurving storms over the past millennium.
  • Article
    Historically unprecedented Northern Gulf of Mexico hurricane activity from 650 to 1250 CE
    (Nature Research, 2020-11-05) Rodysill, Jessica R. ; Donnelly, Jeffrey P. ; Sullivan, Richard M. ; Lane, D. Philip ; Toomey, Michael R. ; Woodruff, Jonathan D. ; Hawkes, Andrea D. ; MacDonald, Dana ; D'Entremont, Nicole ; McKeon, Kelly ; Wallace, Elizabeth J. ; van Hengstum, Peter J.
    Hurricane Michael (2018) was the first Category 5 storm on record to make landfall on the Florida panhandle since at least 1851 CE (Common Era), and it resulted in the loss of 59 lives and $25 billion in damages across the southeastern U.S. This event placed a spotlight on recent intense (exceeding Category 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) hurricane landfalls, prompting questions about the natural range in variability of hurricane activity that the instrumental record is too short to address. Of particular interest is determining whether the frequency of recent intense hurricane landfalls in the northern Gulf of Mexico (GOM) is within or outside the natural range of intense hurricane activity prior to 1851 CE. In this study, we identify intense hurricane landfalls in northwest Florida during the past 2000 years based on coarse anomaly event detection from two coastal lacustrine sediment archives. We identified a historically unprecedented period of heightened storm activity common to four Florida panhandle localities from 650 to 1250 CE and a shift to a relatively quiescent storm climate in the GOM spanning the past six centuries. Our study provides long-term context for events like Hurricane Michael and suggests that the observational period 1851 CE to present may underrepresent the natural range in landfalling hurricane activity.