Estimating Losses from Hurricane Harvey Using FEMA's HAZUS-MH Model

Authors: Nicole Casamassina*, Texas A&M University, Oliver Frauenfeld, Texas A&M University
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Coastal and Marine
Keywords: Hurricanes, GIS, losses, mitigation, risk, vulnerability, HAZUS, Texas, Hurricane Harvey
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Cleveland 1, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Hurricane Harvey was one of the most destructive and costliest hurricanes to ever make landfall on the Texas coast and one of the many tropical cyclones that impacted the United States during the 2017 North Atlantic Hurricane Season. In recent years, emergency managers and researchers have been using hurricane risk and vulnerability analyses developed through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to make informed decisions on different aspects of community and regional preparedness when a tropical cyclone is forecasted to impact an area. Though there are many ways to quantify risk and vulnerability, this project uses the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazards-US Multi-Hazards (HAZUS) GIS extension to estimate and illustrate the physical, economic, and social losses associated with tropical cyclone impacts along the Texas coast. There are numerous ways to quantify the risks associated with tropical cyclones using GIS, most of which focus on one of the three hazards involved in hurricane impact: extreme winds, heavy rainfall, and storm surge. This project addresses this shortcoming by focusing on all three hazards and modelling the physical, economic, and social losses in locations in Texas that were caused by Hurricane Harvey. Heavy rainfall produced the most losses, while storm surge affected the southern-most areas of the Texas coast. Wind damage was most prominent near Rockport, TX, where winds were estimated around 130 mph. The results of this study are compared to risk analyses developed by government agencies to seek way to improve current mitigation strategies in the region.

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