Dec 08 2016

“Perfect Storm” Hits KSC

KSC afloat in the sea

KSC afloat in the sea

Last weekend saw some frightful conditions here at Cape Kernaveral as winds, rain and rising flood waters threatened to completely inundate the Kerbal Space Center. KSC is built on a low-lying section of land along the shore of the Kerblantic Ocean. We don’t see widespread floods often but there are areas around the Cape that do suffer partial flooding during high tides if the winds are also high enough to push water inland and also when enough rain falls over the mountains to the west the eventual runoff finds its way down past the KSC on its way to the ocean, forming temporary streams.

However last week all those elements came together at once to produce a massive tidal surge and local flooding the likes we have not seen before. It started with a large storm out to sea that created a surge in water levels due to high winds as it moved northwest of us. Upper air currents dragged moisture over the mountains to the west, and the rain that fell there made its way down to us over the course of a day. Caught in between these two weather patterns, things were made worse by a high tide as Mun rose overhead.

Meteorologists still don’t know what caused the storm out to sea, so we can’t say for sure whether this is a situation that will strike again. Surely it’s unlikely all three events will coincide in this manner anytime in the near future, but rough weather out to sea is something that could be a concern to us once we start launching eastwards again in a bid for space or orbit. The Maritime Service is currently working with the Kerbin Meteorological Society to investigate sea conditions following the storm.

KSC is built on average 2m above the surrounding ground, which thankfully saved it from getting inundated by the rising flood waters. Wind damage was minimal, and all objects that could have become damaging airborne debris were taken inside at the start of the storm. The Support Village suffered a small amount of water damage to its ground floors, which are still being repaired and expect to be finished next week. All in all we lucked out, and hope nothing similar is coming our way anytime soon!

The full timeline of events can be viewed below.