I posted this right before this thread started...
That would pretty much guarantee the end of Pensacola Beach.....Same track as Ivan!
I'm not too sure about that, Ivan spent a long time at Cat 4 or better through the Carribean and GOM without hitting land, to me that means that the surge surrounding the storm never was impeded enough, hence the 90 ft wave and several 65 ft waves from that oceanographic sensor (I can't recall the exact source of that data, perhaps someone can remind me). Perhaps one of the experts on here can verify that for me (or disprove me), it would seem to make sense that the longer a Cat 4/5 spins in open water, the bigger the surge. I was amazed at the damage in Milton being that it was inland, and the damage to I-10 but that water had no where else to go after being dragged as far as it had been. Any other historical info to back that idea up?
It's more dependent on the speed of the storm, although exposure time does have an effect. The larger waves get, the faster they go, and so will eventually outrun the hurricane. Because of this, there's a maximum sea development for a given storm speed and windspeed. Size also has to do with it, of course.
The worst shape you could be in would be a hurricane approaching you on a linear path and accelerating. The acceleration would allow waves to get "caught" under the storm, leading to a phenomenon called "fetch-trapping".
All of this, of couse, affects both surge and wave height, as they are related.
But I'm a high school student, not an expert