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Assessing Storm Surge Information

Assessing Storm Surge Information

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Assessing Storm Surge Information

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  1. Assessing Storm Surge Information Jeff Lazo, NCAR Betty Morrow, NCAR and ERG 2011 NOAA Hurricane Conference November 29, 2011 National Hurricane Center Special thanks to Hugh Gladwin (FIU) and Crystal Burghardt (NCAR) for their assistance with some of the projects reported here.

  2. MAJOR QUESTIONS TO ADDRESS • Do coastal residents understand storm surge? • Do they understand the level of surge risk where their home is located? • Where do they get their coastal storm information? • What forecast products do they currently rely on? • What, if any, new storm surge products are indicated?

  3. DATA COLLECTION • Review of Surge Questions on Past Surveys • VA, AL, GA, MS • HFIP Coastal Residents Internet Survey • Panel Survey • NC – TX • N = 1238 Coastal Emergency Managers Survey • Internet Survey • NC – TX • N = 53 • Extratropical – Tropical Cyclone Survey • Telephone Survey • Atlantic, Gulf, Pacific • N = 900

  4. SURGE RELATED FINDINGS FROM PAST SURVEYS • Of those in Cat 1 zone, about one third are each of these: • Very concerned • Somewhat concerned • Not very concerned n = 1599 Hampton Road VA Evacuation Study. 2010. Morrow & Gladwin through Dewberry for FEMA and USACE

  5. Evacuation Survey Results Hampton Road VA Evacuation Study. Betty Morrow and Hugh Gladwin through Dewberry. 2009. Hampton Road VA Evacuation Study. 2010. Morrow & Gladwin through Dewberry for FEMA and USACE

  6. Each dot = one interview Likelihood Would Be Flooded in Major Hurricane: Not Very Likely Somewhat Likely Very Likely Coastal Georgia Evacuation Study. 2010. Morrow & Gladwin through Dewberry. 2009 for FEMA and USACE.

  7. Coastal Mississippi Behavioral Study. 2011. Morrow & Gladwin through Dewberry for FEMA and UCACE

  8. Coastal Alabama Behavioral Survey. 2011. Morrow & Gladwin through Dewberry for FEMA and USACE

  9. Coastal Alabama Behavioral Survey. 2011. Morrow & Gladwin through Dewberry for FEMA and USACE

  10. Likelihood of Surge Damage by Surge Exposure HFIP Coastal Residents Survey. 2010. Lazo and Morrow

  11. Agree Completely Agree Somewhat Neutral Disagree Somewhat Disagree Completely

  12. EMERGENCY MANAGERS SURVEY Note: These results are similar to those reported in our November 2010 public survey where 55% said yes for a separate watch and 66% for a separate warning.


  14. EMERGENCY MANAGERS SURVEY Preference For Delivery Of Surge Information • Most thought maps would be most useful, followed by graphics and pictures • 90% thought it extremely or very useful to express in feet above ground level • 83% thought showing probability of different depths would be extremely or very useful

  15. EXTRATROPICAL – TROPICAL CYCLONE COASTAL RESIDENTS SURVEY • Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific States (22) • Sample proportional to population at risk • Alaska did not have any respondents due to low population • Sample skewed toward older adults, retirees, white, middle-class* • 60% live within one mile of coast • Questions on ET-TC experience, knowledge, attitudes, behavioral intentions * Will be compared to 2010 Census demographics for the same areas.

  16. EXTRATROPICAL – TROPICAL CYCLONE COASTAL RESIDENTS SURVEY TC ONLY AL, FL, GA, HI, LA, MS, TX n = 271 30% of sample ET ONLY CA, OR, WA n = 342 38% of sample ET & TC CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, RI, SC, VA n = 287 32% of sample

  17. EXTRATROPICAL SAMPLE QUESTION: Severe coastal storms aren’t limited to tropical cyclones, and can occur year-round in all ocean areas. In the North Atlantic region these coastal storms are referred to as nor’easters. On example occurred in November 2009 when the mid-Atlantic states experienced high prolonged onshore winds causing near-record flooding in VA and severe beach erosion along the NJ and DE coasts. Another example occurred in late July 2008 when a severe coastal storm in Alaska’s Bering Sea caused a combination of high surf and storm surge which destroyed seawalls, damaged structures and homes, and severely damaged a critical airstrip in northwest AK. Do you live in an area that can be impacted by severe coastal storms like these? 57% in ET ONLY states, 26% in ET-TC states, and 58% in TC ONLY states said they were not in an area that could be affected by severe coastal storms like these.

  18. Hurricane Irene* • 84% were very or somewhat concerned • 58% were very or somewhat concerned about potential damage from storm surge • 44% were very or somewhat concerned about potential injury or loss of life from surge • 90% rated the quality of the forecasts as excellent or good • Information sources (in order) were local TV, Weather Channel, national TV, local radio and the Internet • 24% said they used the Internet a great deal for hurricane information *Asked of North Carolina to Maine Only

  19. TOTAL SAMPLE • 60% had been affected by a severe coastal storm (less for ET region) • 39% said a severe storm had turned out to be worse than they expected • 48% had evacuated before (less for ET region) • 47% live in an official surge or evacuation zone • 29% said they didn’t know their elevation • 60% said they had never heard how high surge could be where their home is located • 68% said it was not very likely their home would ever be flooded by surge (no important regional differences) • 78% said it was very or somewhat likely they would evacuate for a major storm; 38% for Cat 1 or 2

  20. TOTAL SAMPLE • 48% had never seen a flood map for their home’s location • 84% were familiar with forecasts and warnings from their local WFO • 50% were familiar with WFO website • 79% said the NWS issues Coastal Flood Watches or Warnings in their area • 85% think existing flooding forecasts sufficient • 72% favor a separate storm surge warning for severe coastal events

  21. USE OF WEBSITES * Includes Total Sample



  24. SUMMARY • High risk coastal residents often not aware of: • Flood and surge potential • Possible effects of surge • Evacuation or surge zone status • Elevation • Flood map status • Insufficient concern about coastal storms, particularly in ET states • Rely mostly on local TV, cable & national TV, and local radio for forecasts, but growing use of Internet

  25. SUMMARY • Support for separate surge information • Among coastal residents • Among emergency managers • Should include (in order of preference): • Location, timing, how far inland • Depth, impacts, protective actions • Preferences for receiving surge information: • Stated as feet above ground level • Maps, graphics and pictures

  26. Future Tasks • Further analysis of ET-TC Survey data • Testing of possible surge forecast products with various users • Survey of Coastal ET-TC Broadcast Meteorologists and EMs • ?


  28. Please send comments & suggestions to: