Flooding Vulnerability to Hurricane Harvey in Houston Area

Authors: Gainbi Park*, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Zengwang Xu, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Land Use and Land Cover Change
Keywords: impervious surfaces change, hurricane-induced flooding, vulnerability, Hurricane Harvey
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Napoleon A3, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Population growth and rapid land use change have put pressure on disaster vulnerability in urban areas. As cities are becoming more urbanized, rampant development transforms areas of vegetation into impervious surfaces (roads, parking lots, buildings, concrete, asphalt, rooftops, etc.). This change of land use will alter the surface hydrology of the watershed, and it could lead to increased vulnerability to hurricane-induced flooding of inland regions. Hurricane Harvey has recently brought tremendous flooding damage to Houston area. This study analyzes the spatial and temporal change in impervious surfaces within flood-prone areas in Houston, using remotely sensed imageries and GIS. Further, this study will estimate the social susceptibility of individual and community, and determine the spatial distribution of vulnerability to hurricane-induced flooding in the built urban environment. This will be accomplished by using a composite index based on geophysical variables in conjunction with socio-economic and demographic census data. This research sheds light on emergency preparedness and land use regulation to mitigate vulnerability.

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