Validating Vulnerability to Inundation Model Using Post-Florence CubeSat Imagery in Southeastern North Carolina

Authors: Christopher Hidalgo*, University of North Carolina - Wilmington, Narcisa Pricope, University of North Carolina - Wilmington, Joanne Halls, University of North Carolina - Wilmington, Jessica L Magolan, University of North Carolina - Wilmington, Lauren Rosul, University of North Carolina - Wilmington
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Remote Sensing, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: GIS, remote sensing, hazards, flood
Session Type: Guided Poster
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 4:30 PM / 6:10 PM
Room: Roosevelt 3.5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download


On the U.S. Atlantic coast, the risk to hurricane-induced rainfall days have increased by as much as 64% over the past 17 years. Flood insurance rate maps do not account for rainfall-induced flooding. Thus, floodplain managers, state, and local governments need additional information to implement well-informed flood mitigation plans, which may include property buyouts, elevating homes, and flood-proofing structures. More recently, North Carolina incurred approximately $2.5B in residential flood damages following Hurricane Florence in 2018. In supplementing flood mitigation efforts, we modeled social and physical vulnerability to coastal inland inundation in North Carolina’s 28 coastal counties, and subsequently tested the validity of the model relative to actual flood extents from Hurricane Florence in Pender County. To delineate the flood extent within Pender County, we applied a normalized difference vegetation index (NDWI) on PlanetScope Ortho Scene imagery to separate water and non-water features. Using GIS, we then calculated the percentage of potentially exposed residential structures in Pender County by incorporating building inventory data derived from the North Carolina Flood Risk Information System. Preliminary results showed that floodwater extent covered 47.5 square miles, potentially exposing 1,604 residences to flood damage. 41.9% of those buildings are located outside the 100-year floodplain. Using CubeSat imagery may benefit state and local officials as a low cost and effective solution for mitigating and responding to flood hazards.

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