Date of Award

5-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Civil Engineering

Committee Member

Weichiang Pang, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Thomas E. Cousins

Committee Member

Brandon E. Ross

Abstract

This thesis describes the development of a high-resolution storm-surge hazard database, which can be used for estimating the long-term storm surge hazard at any given site along the eastern coast of the United States (US). A stochastic hurricane track model is used to generate a set of one hundred thousand years of synthetic hurricane tracks. The SLOSH (Sea, Lake and Overland Surges from Hurricanes) model is used to simulate the storm surge in the Atlantic basin caused by selected synthetic hurricane tracks. The study domain covers a region of about 20 miles from the coastline containing more than 220,000 grid points (or observation points) for recording the peak storm surges of each synthetic hurricane track. A uniform grid of resolution of 1.1 km is proposed for this study.

Hind cast simulation of a set of 16 hurricanes was performed to quantify the modeling error of SLOSH model in terms of its ability to predict the surge height that occurred along the US coastline. The SLOSH predicted surges for the 16 historical hurricanes were validated against historical storm surge data obtained from various tide stations and post-hurricane high watermarks along the eastern coast of the US. These modeling errors were then quantified for each SLOSH study region (basin). The simulated surge heights for each basin were then adjusted for systematic error (bias) to assist in the development of more robust, reliable and accurate hazard maps. The biased adjusted surge heights were used to generate (1) storm surge hazard curves (surge height versus return period) for the 220,000 grid points, and (2) storm surge hazard maps for different return periods.

A hazard visualization tool was developed to view the surge hazard footprint. The availability of this information of long-term hazard for more than 220,000 locations along the US coast can be a useful tool for coastal city developers and planners, decision makers, risk analysts and engineering firms responsible for designing structures for hurricane induced storm surge hazards. Also, such a database and the visualization tools (maps, hazard curves) can improve the risk communication in the community and help in mitigating the losses (monetary and life) due to the storm surge by creating storm surge risk awareness in the society.

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