An Integrated Vulnerability Analysis: Case Studies of Tropical Storm Allison and Hurricane Harvey

Authors: Xiaoxuan Li*, University of Florida
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Remote Sensing
Keywords: Integrated vulnerability analysis, CRI, SoVI, PCA, WSR-88D
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Heavy precipitation induced by tropical cyclones is often the biggest threat to property and the environment. An integrated vulnerability assessment is highly essential to measure underlying hazard risks and to minimize hazard impacts. In this study, a Composite Risk Index (CRI) combining hazard, exposure and social vulnerability was conducted to show how extreme flooding events affect people and places physically and socially in Harris County, Texas during Tropical Cyclone Allison (2001) and Hurricane Harvey (2017). The adopted CRI is based on a three-step process. Firstly, the rainfall datasets in two case studies were transformed from Weather Surveillance Radar 88 Doppler (WSR-88D) National Level II Radar reflectivity to estimate the spatial extent of flash floods. Secondly, the Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI) was derived from socioeconomic and demographic data at the census block level to measure the social vulnerability of Harris County to historical rainfall events. A Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was then applied to reduce the dimensionality of these social vulnerability indicators. Finally, the CRI was calculated by combining flooding maps with SoVI scores. The results reveal that it is possible to create an integrated index of vulnerability to highlight vulnerable areas from multidimensional aspects before and after extreme events. Some vulnerability and demographic indicators varied significantly in specific regions due to the demanding of the growing population and tropical cyclone impacts.

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