Abstract: This contribution aims to explore the role of oceanographic parameters on the damage caused by storms at the eastern Cantabrian coast (1996-2016). All wave storms affecting the study area were characterized in terms of several oceanographic parameters; among them, damaging storms (responsible for direct and tangible loss) were identified. Cross-referencing both databases makes it possible to find some thresholds that explain storm conditions associated with property damage. Particularly relevant are those responsible for significant and widespread damage: maximum significant offshore wave height >6.5 m, maximum total water level >6 m, SPI > 1700 m2h, and a storm duration >48 h. These values are exceptionally high, mostly exceeding the 95th percentile. A comparison has been made with other thresholds described in the literature. The concurrence of high wave height and high tidal level is crucial as the greatest damage is caused by the combination of wave impact and over-wash, so a long duration of the storm is necessary to coincide with high tide. An empirical Intensity-Duration threshold has also been obtained with the following function I = 248.7 D-0.45. Damage can occur with moderate storms, but with severe effects only with exceptional wave and sea-level values, during long-lasting storms.
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