2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 8:45 AM

GIS Storm Surge Map for Daniel Island, South Carolina

BATES, Shelby1, LEVINE, Norman2 and KAUFMAN, Charlie C.2, (1)Masters of Environmental Studies, College of Charleston, 66 George St, Charleston, SC 29424, (2)Geology and Environmental Geosciences, College of Charleston, 66 George Street, Charleston, SC 29424, shelbybates@hughes.net

The east coast of the United States is highly susceptible to storm impacts during hurricane season (June – December). The size, strength and track of a hurricane is related to the storm surge's impacts. As the storm surge moves inland the rising water causes severe coastal flooding and is one of the greatest threats to the loss of life. GIS and surge modeling are essential tools for understanding the impacts of these events.

Daniel Island is in the heart of the South Carolina Low Country, and is approximately 5m at its highest elevation above sea level. The community sits in Berkley County, South Carolina yet is jurisdictionally part of the City of Charleston. As with most of the Charleston area, Daniel Island is undergoing a major economic development that began in the early 1990s. In fact, the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors reports that median prices for single-family homes and condominiums on Daniel Island are $642,000 and $274,400, respectively. Additionally, since this development started, the Charleston area has not been impacted by a major hurricane. It has been estimated that over 4000 of the new residents to Daniel Island are “post Hugo” and have not experienced the damage that such a storm can produce in a community. (Hurricane Hugo impacted the Charleston area as a Category 4 storm in 1989.)

Since the area's residents have little prior experience in dealing with storms of this magnitude, combined with the relatively low lying area where the community is located, and the lack of actual hurricane flooding data for the community, it was necessary to estimate the impact of hurricane surge on the community through computer modeling. These storm surge models and visualizations were created using ESRI's ArcGIS program to provide information about the impacts of hurricanes for residents of the community.