Southeastern Section - 54th Annual Meeting (March 17–18, 2005)

Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 4:00 PM


BOYD, Kelly A., NOAA NCDDC, Building 1100, Room 101, Stennis Space Center, MS 39529,

The 2004 hurricane season, featuring a “one-four punch” to Florida, was one of the worst in history, tallying nearly $25 million in damage. Though little can be done to prevent imminent storm damage, the protection of people and their assets may be enhanced by conducting pre-storm vulnerability assessments. The Coastal Risk Atlas, developed by the NOAA National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC), is an online hurricane preparedness resource. The atlas aims to provide the data and methodology necessary to quantify the threat of coastal storms to the population, the economic and critical infrastructure, and the environment. Assessing coastal vulnerability is a process best undertaken with the aid of geographic information systems (GIS). Through a GIS, community planners and the public can assess their vulnerability through the visualization of storm surge, inland flooding, and wind model outputs. By including these data sets and others, the CRA seeks to minimize data discovery and GIS analysis effort for anyone dealing with coastal hazards data. Further, ArcGIS tools are available for download to streamline work with locally acquired data and to minimize the necessity for extensive GIS technology and knowledge. A sample vulnerability assessment is conducted by coastal county and served using ESRI's Arc Internet Map Server (ArcIMS), which facilitates the viewing of geospatial data through a web browser. The assessment also includes base map and critical infrastructure to capture their relationship with potentially hazardous areas. Given this information, users can determine if they want to purchase a home in a specific area, if they should evacuate in the face of a land falling storm, and whether future developments should be sited in particularly vulnerable areas. As a proof of concept, the CRA methodology was applied to Southwest Florida and compared with data collected in the aftermath of Hurricane Charley. The results showed that the techniques used in the Coastal Risk Atlas were good predictors of what occurred during the storm.