GCOOS-SECOORA-NOAA CSC Joint Workshop
24-26 January 2007
New Orleans, LA

The workshop was called to order at 0830 hr on 24 January 2007 by Worth Nowlin. Meeting logistics were reviewed. Then, all participants were given the opportunity to briefly identify themselves and their interests. Appendix 1 gives a list of attendees with affiliations. The workshop co-chairs were: Worth Nowlin, representing the GCOOS-RA; Parker Lumpkin, representing SECOORA; and Todd Davison, representing the NOAA Coastal Services Center.

Tom Malone welcomed participants on behalf of the NOAA Coastal Services Center and the Ocean.US Office. He gave an overview of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). Malone’s talk covered (1) the background and mission of the Ocean.US Office, (2) the First IOOS Development Plan (approved January 2006 at the cabinet level), and (3) priorities for phased implementation of the IOOS. For 2005-2009, the five priorities for implementation are to: (1) complete the global component of the Global Ocean Observing System; (2) implement the IOOS Data Management and Communication (DMAC) plan; (3) initiate modeling and analysis efforts—a Modeling and Analysis Steering Team was established in September 2006 for this purpose; (4) develop Regional Coastal Ocean Observing Systems; and (5) improve capabilities to predict and mitigate effects of coastal flooding. Workshop participants then were welcomed by Parker Lumpkin on behalf of SECOORA and GCOOS.

The expectations of the Workshop Steering Committee (members are listed in Appendix 2) were described by Nowlin. This presentation first presented the workshop objectives:

  • To identify, with priorities, measurements and products needed to better predict and mitigate effects of storm surge and inundation in the southeastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico.
  • To suggest a few high priority pilot projects that might be undertaken soon to advance the development of the higher priority measurements and products.
  • To provide estimates of annual economic benefits of the identified measurements and products as feasible.

To provide structure to the workshop, focus was to be on measurements and products needed for three situations and classes of users:

  1. Pre-storm preparedness—preparing for resiliency
  2. Emergency response
  3. Recovery and rebuilding—improve resiliency

Nowlin introduced the workshop agenda (Appendix 3) and described the approach to be taken during the workshop. Participants would be divided into two breakout groups. Each group would meet for three three separate periods to address a set of charges for each of the three focus areas listed above: pre-storm preparedness, emergency response, and recovery and rebuilding. Each group would address the same charges. Warren Lee and Mark Luther had previously volunteered to be breakout session chairs; Maria Honeycutt and Suzanne Van Cooten had volunteered to be breakout session rapporteurs.

Following plenary presentations of recommendations by each group chair, the two groups would again meet and attempt to prioritize recommendations across the three focus areas, with discussion of economic benefits if feasible. Finally, chairs and rapporteurs would present summaries of the final breakout session results (priorities) and a workshop facilitator would synthesize the two sets of recommended priorities in plenary session. Dave Eslinger had volunteered as the workshop facilitator.

The expected workshop deliverables were:

  • A set of prioritized measurements and products needed to better predict and mitigate effects of inundation.
  • Suggested pilot projects to advance the development of those measurements and products of higher priority.
  • A list of ongoing projects intended to produce/update these prioritized measurements and products.
  • Estimated annual economic benefits resulting from realization of these measurements or products, as feasible.

Results from another focused stakeholder workshop dealing with oil, gas and related industries were described to illustrate the expected workshop results.

The workshop then heard three talks to set the stage for breakout sessions to consider pre-, during, and post-storm needs. Roy Dokka gave a presentation entitled "Preparing for storm surge and inundation effects–Building in resiliency". He began by enumerating steps needed to build resiliency:

  • Broad community recognition of scope of the potential problem
  • Decisions on level of resiliency sought—what outcome do we wish?
  • Assess current vulnerabilities—what will likely happen?
  • Mitigate current vulnerabilities—stop creating problems
  • Assess and plan for future vulnerabilities—what could happen?
  • Develop controls to stop building in new vulnerabilities.

He asked whether New Orleans has taken these steps.

He very strongly emphasized the need for accurate topographic and bathymetric data as a first order priority when planning for and building resiliency to inundation effects. He pointed out that flood plain maps, inundation models, and most of the tools needed to improve resiliency require topography and bathymetry. If these are inaccurate so will be the results of the tools.

Using a variety of data sets, he illustrated the lack of accurate topographic data for Louisiana and he reviewed the types of measurements required to obtain accurate topography. NOAA told Congress in 2001 that the Louisiana system used to measure elevations was "inaccurate and obsolete and unable to support public safety". Required is a statewide geospatial reference network. We must use the latest technology to obtain accurate topography and bathymetry, and we must update that information at regular intervals.

Al Goodman discussed the issues and needs during an inundation emergency. The topics discussed by Goodman were: flood hazard description within Mississippi, pre-storm preparedness, impact, emergency response, recovery and rebuilding, and lessons learned. His talk focused on Mississippi and was very well illustrated with figures and statistics related to Hurricane Katrina.

In Todd Davison’s presentation on "Treating the aftermath of storm surge and inundation—improving resiliency" based on post disaster experiences following Hurricanes Hugo, Andrew, Iniki, Opal, Fran, Bertha, Bonnie, Floyd, and Isabel. He outlined issues to prime the workshop discussion of post event requirements with emphasis on six areas of activity. He began with the (1) need to operationalize post event data collection. What entities are responsible for pre-planning of post-event surveys and mapping? He emphasized the need to build performance assessment teams for forensic building analysis and preparation of flood inundation maps. He stressed the needs to (2) map the event, (3) publish the map, and (4) carry out comparative analysis and (5) integrate new science into recovery policy. Finally, Davison called for an (6) education and outreach campaign for public and responders. His conclusion was that coastal storm damage costs the U.S. $50 billion annually.

Before the first breakout session to consider needs for pre-storm preparedness the following charges to the two breakout groups were discussed:

  • What are the highest priority products pertaining to the mitigation of inundation resulting from storm surge and flooding? Who will be the end users? What observations are needed to produce these products?
  • Suggest pilot projects that should be undertaken to help develop the capability to produce the priority observations or products.
  • If feasible, estimate economic benefits that might result from the having the priority observations and products.

The second breakout session to consider needs during emergency response concluded the first day of the workshop.

The second day began with a presentation by Warren Lee to emergency managers dealing with issues in real time. This short talk contained very sage advice, including "successful responses begin with good planning", "surround yourself with talent", "there is strength in numbers", and "expect the unexpected".

The third breakout session to consider post-storm needs—recovery and rebuilding—followed. After which initial presentations to plenary were made by the two group leaders. These presentations covered needs and suggested pilot projects to attain those needs for pre-, during, and post-event periods. In Tables 1 and 2 are the recommendations of Groups 1 and 2, respectively. Group 2 had prioritized their recommended requirements for pre-, during, and post-storm event periods separately. Group 2 also included some recommended pilot projects. Group 1 included no priorities or recommended pilot projects at this stage.


Table 1. Initial Recommendations of Group I

Pre-Event Recommended Requirements

  • Improvement to Inundation Forecasts
  • Include wave set-up effects, tides
  • Need better wind fields, topo/bathy data
  • Need better obs of past surge evolution for verification
  • Better representation of uncertainty in inundation forecasts (ensemble forecasts–mean and spread)
  • Accurate Topo/Bathy data–needed for applications other than model forecasts–consistent vertical datum
  • Densified/hardened/redundant observations, GIS local data, communications systems
  • Augment Safir/Simpson scale
  • Develop suite of hazard tools – "GoogleEarth" depiction of hazard to individual property, nearest shelters, evacuations routes, etc.

During Event Recommended Requirements

  • Real-time data on water level, wind, atmospheric pressure, rainfall, video cams
  • Densified, reliable, consistent instrumentation
  • Embedded Science Support Coordinator at EOC
  • GIS response for real-time mapping and local data repository access
  • Coupled model system – hydrologic/hydraulic/surge – better predictions of onset and retreat of flooding

Post-Event Recommended Requirements

  • Clarify research to operations process for surge models
  • Regional test bed for surge models
  • Identify a common suite of measurements and standards for post-storm description of inundation event and for model evaluation and improvement
  • Need a mechanism for:
  • Coordination of post-storm measurements among feds, state, local, academic groups
  • Identify teams/individuals willing and able to carry out post-storm measurements
  • Establish training/certification for those making measurement, esp. HWM observers
  • Perform system-wide, multi-disciplinary model simulations/evaluations for storm forensics and model/hazard maps assessment & improvement
  • Establish national repository/digital library of pre-and post-storm data (incl. digital photos, model simulations, etc.)
  • Ensure rapid update of database post-storm w/ verified information
  • Public outreach to all constituents to demonstrate past and possible future impacts to promote better future decision making
  • Rapid assessment/surveys of navigable waterways – need rapid deployment of water level gages to facilitate
  • Plume trajectories, hazmat clean-up
  • Vertical datum issues

Recommended Data Needed

  • Winds
  • Water Level
  • Waves
  • Precipitation
  • Topography
  • Bathymetry

Table 2.  Initial Recommendations of Group 2

Pre-Storm Product Priorities

Ranking Product Key Observations/Components
H (1) Elevation Data
(Topo & Bathy)
• High-quality data, with proper vertical controls.
H (2) Updated inundation maps • Need topo/bathy, water levels, SST, wind data (direction, speed), atmospheric pressure, wave data –> feed models
• Variety of observation methods (mounted gauges, mobile platforms, reconnaissance flights, etc.)
• May also require improvements to existing surge models. Consider having product that represents consensus of an ensemble of surge models (see M (1) below), rather than just 1 model (e.g., SLOSH).
H (3) Updated FEMA FIRMs • Topo/bathy data, water levels, wave data
• Improvements needed in methods, models (some underway)
H (4) Real-time inundation data/maps • Topo/bathy, water levels, waves, MET data
H (5) Outreach materials and implementation strateg • Mapping products are key input
• Need to examine delivery mechanisms – media, schools, churches, etc. – and the messages conveyed (consequences of inaction)
M (1) Inundation forecast based on ensemble of surge models • Need topo/bathy, water levels, wind data (direction, speed), atmospheric pressure, wave data –> feed models
• Variety of observation methods (mounted gauges, mobile platforms, reconnaissance flights, etc.)
• Model this after hurricane track prediction process
L (1) Classification system for predicted surge inundation • No specific observations required; this is a derivative product from surge forecasts, principally needed to improve outreach/communication

Emergency Response Priorities

Ranking Product Key Observations/Components
H (1) Surge Event Clearinghouse One stop shop for:
• Credentially of field data collection teams
• Tracking of field teams and communication with/incorporation into incident command structure
• Maps/aids to navigation (range from non-georeferenced, early imagery to GIS/GPS-enabled aerials overlain with street network
• Data repository or clearinghouse (pointers to data producers), from HWMs to remotely sensed data
• Standards and QA/QC requirements to post data
H (2) Communications system • Satellite phones, "Cellular-on-Wheels" (COW)
• Needed to transmit data back, keep EOC posted on key findings or emergency situations that emerge
H (3) Time-series maps • Topo/bathy, gauges, currents
• Desire to know what areas got wet, how deep, where is water going and how fast (no products tell when the water will go away and it’s safe to return)

Post-storm Product Priorities

Ranking Product Key Observations/Components
1 Communications Network • Plan/system to communicate data – in from researchers, out to public and other users
• TV (include satellite), AM radio, ham radio, satellite phones, "COW"
• Digital data transfer – internet
• Assessment to find out what works in post-storm setting
2 Environmental Data (for HAZMAT and other applications) • Winds, currents, sea state, satellite imagery (temperature, sea surface height, turbidity, color) –> models/flow paths
• Testing to determine contaminants/concentrations
• Essential to have backbone with pre-storm data to establish baseline conditions
3 Inundation Maps • HWMs, SLOSH, waves, gauges, aerial imagery, satellite
• Rainfall and upland runoff
• Innovative products to present results
4 Forensic engineering reports • Wind–from anemometers, hindcasts, wind engineers’ judgements
• Water–HWMs, gauge readings, pressure sensors
5 Updated Flood Maps to reflect post-storm conditions • Updated topo/bathy, and all the other data needed for flood studies (see pre-storm product list)
• RA contribute to modeling post-event
6 Debris Management Tools • Maps identifying location/quantity – photography, LIDAR pre/post, side-scan sonar for marine
• Establish relationships between agencies with $$ and communities/states needing surveying to find debris
• Identification of debris disposal sites

Pre-Storm Pilot Project

  • Surge visualization movies–Mississippi coast, others?

Emergency Event Pilot Projects

  • Develop Clearinghouse — Great role for RA; needs assessment to identify players and components for events large and small
  • Measurement of pure storm surge (following completion of proof-of-concept study)

Although there was clear overlap in the recommended requirements between the two groups—and even among the three time frames considered—each breakout group was asked to reconvene and decide on overall priorities for required products and pilot projects across the three time periods. They spent the remainder of day two in that activity.

During lunch on day two, Philip Bogden presented a talk on "Prototyping a distributed facility to advance the science of inundation planning and disaster mitigation". This very interesting presentation summarized results of the SURA/SCOOP project using net computing to produce ensembles of inundation models and explored future potential users of that technology to enhance resiliency to inundation.

On the morning of day 3, each group reported to plenary its recommended priority products, measurements, and pilot projects. Those recommendations are given in Appendices 4 and 5 for Groups 1 and 2, respectively. Clearly there was reasonable agreement among needed products/measurements, but less so among pilot projects.

As workshop facilitator, Dave Eslinger then lead the synthesis of the two reports into single prioritized lists of products/measurements and of pilot projects needed to enhance resilience to inundation. Those are presented in Tables 3 and 4.

Some notes of plenary discussion on the prioritized products/measurements follow.

Re. priority (1): These are needed for many applications. It was suggested that the RAs exercise advocacy for accurate bathymetry and topography. Vertical datum tools should be used for consistent vertical control. The final responsibility for these products rests with National Geodetic Survey.

Re. priority (2): Include deployable suite of telemetry sea level gauges for real time response and model improvement. The RCOOSs should make observations and analyses, as feasible, and perhaps assist with forensic data collection. The RAs should maintain observational inventories and establish liaisons with responsible state and federal agencies.

Re. priority (3): Model improvements are needed. Multiple model results must be combined for total inundation. Both mean and range of forecasts are needed. The need for clear paths of models from research to operational status (mentioned in other priorities) plays a key role here.

Re. priority (4): Maps should be improved on a cycle based on occurrence of events. RAs may assist with improved access to data.

Re. priority (5): Mapping products are key inputs for this activity. It is critical to examine the delivery mechanisms and the messages to be conveyed–what are the consequences of inaction? Might develop a web portal with access to synthesized data for particular storms and demonstration of what has occurred (perhaps with animation0 as well as demonstration of what can happen. The latter might be based on future land use patterns, urban development and storm information. This priority is closely related to outreach mentioned in unranked priorities.

Re. priority (6): Of course, this clearinghouse should be web accessible. The clearinghouse might include credentials of field data collection teams, ability to communicate with teams and command structure, maps/aids to navigation, pointers to data producers, and standards and QA/QC requirements for post-storm data.

Re. priority (7): It is critical to specify in advance the forensic measurements needed for post-storm description of impacts and for model evaluations and improvement. Also, it is critical to select and train in advance members of the team to make these measurements. Finally, post-storm measurements must be well coordinated between federal, state, and local governmental representatives and RAs.

At the final workshop session, there was general agreement that the meeting had been very successful—not only in the deliverables produced by also in establishing many new relationships among the participants. The sentiment was expressed that a follow-on workshop should be held for this region.

Appendix 6 contains the full minutes of breakout Group 2 prepared by the rapporteur.

The workshop participants were asked to send to Susanne Van Cooten or Worth Nowlin descriptions of ongoing projects intended to produce/update these prioritized measurements and products. Some such projects already had been identified prior to the workshop. A list was to be included with the final workshop report as Appendix 7.


Table 3. Prioritized products/measurements to enhance resilience to inundation

Priority Product/Measurement
1 Accurate bathymetry and topography with consistent vertical control between various data sets
2 Data on sea level, winds, waves, etc. for use in forecast models, nowcast analyses, and forensic reports. Hardened data collection and communications.
3 Improved forecasts of inundation. Ensemble forecasts are needed. These should include heights of surge, tides, wave set up, precipitation, and river flow, as well as waves.
4 Improved inundation maps for hazard mitigation planning. This requires updated probabilistic methods, improved models, use of forensic data, and improved, easy access to archived data.
5 Inreach communication among emergency managers, community planners and others to develop and present consistent messages, to build expertise, and to develop a sense of "community".
6 A clearing house for pre- and post-storm information. This might have both a public access and an access only for operational users. It should include both pre-storm data (e.g., areal photos) and post-storm information for use by teams during rescue and adjustors.
7 Forensic engineering studies to access wind and flood inundation damage
Others (not ranked)
Augmented Safir-Simpson scale for hurricanes with additional information
Improved public outreach
A clear process for moving storm surge models from research to operational status


Table 4. Pilot projects to enhance resilience to inundation

Priority Pilot Projects
1 Benefit-cost analysis to determine value of having current 24-hour-quality forecast at 48 hr.  Use data from various past events (Floyd, Rita, Georges, Katrina).
2 Compile/develop standardized methods to measure surge elevations. Include gages, other sensors, HWMs. Utilize best practices that are out there.
3 Work with EM community to develop sample inundation forecast products for decision-making at various time steps (96/72/48/24 hr). Products should give easily digestible info, and not overwhelm individual with too many separate maps for each step.
4 Develop prototype of surge event clearinghouse.  Needs assessment to get components/players.  Must include min. standards/QC for data (avoid “landfill” syndrome). Can include key staff/ capabilities wanted for EOC (e.g., Science Coord., GIS expertise).
5 Sensitivity runs of storm surge models to help determine required horizontal and vertical resolutions of bathymetry.

 


 

Appendix 1. Storm Surge & Inundation Workshop Attendees

 

Attendee Affiliation
Bill Barton FEMA Transitional Recovery Office
Joanne Bintz Southeastern Universities Research Association
Philip Bogden SURA and GoMOOS
Richard Butgereit Florida Division of Emergency Management
Lynda Charles FEMA Region IV
Gerry Creager Texas A&M University / SURA
Pete Cupit Mississippi Emergency Management Agency
Todd Davison NOAA Coastal Services Center
Roy Dokka Louisiana State University
Dave Eslinger NOAA Coastal Services Center
Patrick Fink NOAA
Paul Gayes Coastal Carolina University
Al Goodman, CFM MEMA
Sharon Hodge Mississippi State University
Maria Honeycutt URS Corporation & ASFPM Coastal Cmte Co-chair
Gary Jeffress Division of Nearshore Research – TAMUCC
Ann Jochens Texas A&M University
Andrew Kennedy Dept. of Civil and Coastal Engineering
Warren Lee New Hanover County Dept. of Emergency Mgmt
Hui Qing Liu North Carolina State University
Parker Lumpkin SECOORA
Mark Luther University of South Florida
Steve Lyons The Weather Channel
Tom Malone Ocean.US and University of Maryland
Susan Martin Texas A&M University
Robert Mason U.S. Geological Survey
Brian McCallum U.S. Geological Survey
Ben McGee USGS, WRD, LA
Mark A. McInerney Tropical Prediction Center/ NHC
Aurelio Mercado-Irizarry University of Puerto Rico
Alan Niedoroda URS
Ben Nelson Florida Division of Emergency Management
Worth Nowlin Texas A&M University
John Power NOAA Coastal Services Center
John Rasi Louisiana Dept. of Transportation & Development
Dave Reed NWS – LMRFC
Frank Revitte National Weather Service – Slidell LA
James Rizzo Division of Nearshore Research – TAMUCC
Peter Sheng University of Florida
Robert Stickney Texas Sea Grant
Bob Stucky NWS – LMRFC
LaDon Swann Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium
Joe Swaykos University of Southern Mississippi
Doug Thompson Atlantic Professional Development
Philippe Tissot Division of Nearshore Research – TAMUCC
Paul S. Trotter New Orleans/Baton Rouge Weather Forecast Office
Suzanne Van Cooten NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)
Jim Weatherford Texas General Land Office
Li Yang Louisiana Dept. of Transportation & Development


 

Appendix 2. Inundation Workshop Steering Committee

 

Name Affiliation
Todd Davison NOAA National Ocean Service
David Driver BP
Dave Eslinger NOAA Coastal Services Center
Andy Garcia Army Corps of Engineers
George Henderson Florida Fish & Wildlife
Maria Honeycutt ASFPM
Ann Jochens Texas A&M University
Warren Lee New Hanover County Dept. of Emergency Mgmt.
Billy Lempesis South Carolina State Ports Authority
Parker Lumpkin South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, SECOORA
Mark Luther University of South Florida
Robert Mason USGS
Worth Nowlin Texas A&M University
Steve Pfaff NOAA
Harvey Seim University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Suzanne Van Cooten National Severe Storms Lab

 

Appendix 3. Agenda for Storm Surge and Inundation Workshop

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Welcome, introductions, logistics
Welcome from Ocean.US and overview of U.S. IOOS (Tom Malone)
Welcome from GCOOS and SECOORA (Parker Lumpkin)
Presentation on Workshop Goals (Worth Nowlin)
Preparing for storm surge and inundation effects–building in resiliency (Roy Dokka)
Issues and needs during the emergency of storm surge and inundation (Al Goodman)
Treating the aftermath of storm surge and inundation–improving resiliency (Todd Davison)
Lunch
Discussion of charge to breakout groups
Breakout Session 1: Pre-storm preparedness–preparing for resiliency
Breakout Session 2: Emergency response
Adjourn for the day
 
Reception

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Plenary Session
Featured talk: “How does an emergency manager deal with issues in real time?” (Warren Lee)
Breakout Session 3: Recovery and rebuilding–improve resiliency

Initial presentations from each group and discussion

Luncheon Speaker: Philip Bogden
"Prototyping a distributed facility to advance the science of inundation planning and disaster mitigation"
Breakout Session 4: Priorities and economic benefits
Breakout session continues
Session chairs and rapporteurs prepare brief summaries of key points; others adjourn for day

Friday, 26 January 2007

Plenary Session
Session chairs distribute one-page summaries of key points and present reports from breakout sessions
Facilitator, along with the panel of working group chairs, lead the discussion based on group reports. Arrive at consensus on deliverables.
Adjourn

 

Appendix 4. Recommended Priorities by Group 1

Group 1 Prioritized needs/actions

  1. Elevation data – topography and bathymetry, better, consistent vertical control (11)
  2. Hardened data/observations to feed models, other decision support tools before, during and after event (9)
  3. Improved Inundation Forecasts (8)
  4. Improved maps for planning purposes – hazard, critical infrastructure, etc. (6)
  5. Improved/hardened communications – both among emergency responders and with outside resources – includes Embedded SSC (3)
  6. Clearinghouse/digital library of pre- and post-storm data, including digital photos, model simulations, etc. (1)
  7. Forensic reports (1) – feeds back into improved planning maps

• Also ran:
— Augmented Safir-Simpson scale with Inundation potential index
— Improved public outreach
— Environmental assessment/data for HazMat and other applications

Group 1 Recommended pilot projects

  • Pilot Project: EOC liaison
    • What will this person do?
    • When will they be called up?
    • What knowledge do they need?
      • Multi-Disciplinary
      • Short-courses to increase knowledge base
    • Need to develop a sales pitch for State EOC’s to tell them the vision for this project
  • Pilot Project: Standardize data networks and collection methods
    • Start by identifying those to be involved in data collection and then work to coordination activities prior to primary tropical season
    • Coordinate data activities in an area of deployment
    • Need to prioritize what parameter(s) needs to be collected
    • Episodic Events/Rapid Deployment versus continuous data collection
  • Pilot Project: Clearinghouse/Digital Library
    • subset of GCOOS Data Portal Project
  • Pilot Project: Provide training and certification process for those making forensic measurements, e.g., HWM’s
    • "Train the Trainer" – cadre of the trainers with host being NOAA Gulf Coastal Services Center


 

Appendix 5. Recommended Priorities by Group 2

Overall Prioritization

  • Starting Point – Pre/During/Post product lists from both breakout groups
  • Identified unique products – 18
  • Ranking – pick to 3-5
  • Develop pilot project ideas

Prioritization

Ranking
(# votes)
Product
Tie – 1 (8) Elevation data (topo/bathy)
Tie – 1 (8) Improved inundation forecasts (includes model improvements)
Tie – 3 (5) Improved inundation maps (includes improvement cycle based on event data)
Tie – 3 (5) Real-time data (hydrologic/weather and environmental parameters; offshore to shoreland to inland sites)
Tie – 3 (5) Outreach materials and strategies
6 (4) Surge event clearinghouse
Tie – 7 (2) Develop classification scheme for surge to augment Saffir-Simpson scale
Tie – 7 (2) Forensic engineering studies (wind and flood damage, analyses to determine wind speeds/flood forces)
Tie – 9 (1) Communications plan (don’t try to recreate communications equipment out there, just identify what works and who needs what for range of surge events)
Tie – 9 (1) Time-series modeling of flooding (surge, rainfall, runoff)
Tie – 9 (1) Develop process to take surge research to operations

Pilot Projects

  1. Benefit-cost analysis to determine value of having current 24-hour-quality forecast at 48 hour. Use data from various past events (Floyd, Rita, Georges, Katrina)
  2. Compile/develop standarized methods to measure surge elevations. Include gauges, other sensors, HWMs. Utilize best practices that are out there.
  3. Work with EM community to develop sample inundation forecast products for decision-making at various time steps (96/72/48/24 hr). Products should give easily digestible information and not overwhelm individual with too many separate maps for each step.
  4. Develop prototype of surge event clearinghouse. Needs assessment to get components/players. Must include minimum standards/QC for data (avoid "landfill" syndrom). Can include key staff/capabilities wanted for EOC (e.g., Science Coordinator, GIS expertise).


 

Appendix 6. Minutes from Breakout Group 2

Notes here reflect after-the-fact grouping of info on particular topics; in the session, the discussion would jump from topic A to topic B and then back to A again, but comments were grouped here for the sake of clarity.

Breakout Session 1:  Pre-Storm Preparedness

Open discussion/brainstorming of potential products needed before the storm (including the “off-season” relative to the peak hurricane months) to mitigate the effects of coastal inundation.

  1. High-quality data are essential – as products themselves, and for derivative products
    • Elevation/bathymetry, in consistent and accurate datum. Need to report relative to NAV88, no more products using NGVD29. To get consistent datum, need a geoid model–for example, mean sea level is approx. +1 ft relative to NAVD88. Other issues mentioned–needing to understand relationships among vertical datums.
    • Types of data collected by meteorological (MET) sensors, which are hurricane hardened. Stems from need to know what got wet–where, when (if possible). Also want temperature, wind (speed and direction), humidity, etc.
    • Water levels, e.g., tide gages. Again, need to be hurricane hardened.
       
  2. Surge models and the inundation maps based on them
    • Two dominant models (SLOSH and ADCIRC). There was a desire expressed by some participants to get uniformity, while others countered that each model is appropriate for particular goals/end products. For example, emergency managers (EMs) rely on surge atlases and SLOSH runs for an incoming storm, while planners may rely more on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and surge atlases for risk identification and long-term planning.
    • Discussion of SLOSH and its pros/cons. Doesn’t consider setup explicitly (likely accounted for in fine tuning of results against real water level observations). It’s fast running, and is best for evacuation planning in many environments but not all (e.g., performs poorly in areas like Puerto Rico or the USVI where the continental shelf is minimal–very steep slopes make setup the story, which isn’t dealt with well in SLOSH).
    • Of the range of inundation maps, which ones are "effective"? FIRMs vs. SLOSH runs (real time) vs. atlases. Some participants wanted to see an analysis done that compares these products and assesses effectiveness of each. What would constitute an "effective" product wasn’t defined by the group.
    • Strong desire from group that whatever representation of inundation is showed in map form, the data needs to be valid – meaning, based on good observations and models. Otherwise, it’s junk in, junk out.
       
  3. Communication—here, outreach.
    • Making maps available and interpretable by various audiences (EMs, media, citizens). For citizens, historical reference is a key tool–takes abstract concepts of potential flooding and gives them a frame of reference to better understand consequences.
    • Discussed at length the need to work with local meteorologists and The Weather Channel.
    • Suggested that a website be created where users (who TBD) could view SLOSH runs, historical inundation maps, FIRMs, etc. For public, let individuals see their house, their neighborhood relative to the flooding.
    • Need to get word out about residual risk–just because you’re not in the 1%-annual-chance (100-year) floodplain on the FIRMs doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.
    • Also discussed how to target hard-to-reach audiences–people who don’t have internet access, cable or satellite TV, don’t read papers, etc. Use schools and churches more.
    • Recommended products should include outreach strategies/action plans that utilize various maps. Target groups and elements mentioned: media as key group; visualizations/movies; warning systems may be worth exploring.
       
  4. Updated FIRMs for floodplain management and longer-term planning for mitigation of flood risks
    • FIRMs need to be up-to-date to be useful.
    • Need to include with FIRMs the fact that other representations of flooding potential exist (for a particular storm on its way, for any Category 1-5 storm striking the area). Strong need to better educate all about limitations of FIRMs’ representation of flood risk. These maps are INSURANCE tools, not comprehensive flood risk identification tools.
       
  5. Need to develop classification system/index for surge flooding potential to complement Saffir-Simpson hurricane intensity scale.

Pilot project discussion

  1. Focus on new/enhanced map products:
    • Enhance surge atlases–include maps of historical events and worst-possible flooding
    • Again, need for assessment of effectiveness of current range of maps
    • Real-time maps–refine SLOSH, maybe look at improving including of effects like wave setup, local wave heights/runup
  2. Movies/visualizations might make for a reasonable pilot–low-hanging fruit given Joe Swaykos’ existing work in visualizing flooding in Gulfport, MS.

Ranked priority products (same as PowerPoint presentation)

Ranking Product Key Observations/Components
H (1) Elevation Data
(Topo & Bathy)
  • High-quality data, with proper vertical controls.
H (2) Updated Inundation Maps
  • Need topo/bathy, water levels, SST, wind data (direction, speed), atmospheric pressure, wave data –> feed models
  • Variety of observation methods (mounted gages, mobile platforms, reconnaissance flights, etc.)
  • May also require improvements to existing surge models. Consider having product that represents consensus results of an ensemble of surge models (see M [1] below), rather than just 1 model (e.g., SLOSH)
H (3) Updated FEMA FIRMs
  • Topo/bathy data, water levels, wave data
  • Improvements needed in methods, models (some underway)
H (4) Real-time inundation data/maps
  • Topo/bathy, water levels, waves, MET data
H (5) Outreach materials and implementation strategy
  • Mapping products are key input.
  • Need to examine delivery mechanisms–media, schools, churches, etc.–and the messages conveyed (consequences of inaction)
M (1) Inundation forecast based on ensemble of surge models
  • Need topo/bathy, water levels, wind data (direction, speed), atmospheric pressure, wave data –> feed models
  • Variety of observation methods (mounted gages, mobile platforms, reconnaissance flights, etc.) Model this after hurricane track prediction process
L (1) Classification system for predicted surge inundation
  • No specific observations required; this is derivative product from surge forecasts, principally needed to improve outreach/communication

Breakout Session 2: Emergency Response

Open discussion/brainstorming of potential products needed as the storm is hitting and in the 2-3 day window after the event to mitigate effects of coastal inundation.

  1. Accreditation (here, credentialing) for engineers, scientists, and/or surveyors to be able to access to areas quickly to collect perishable data. Key is to establish relationships with local officials in the off-season.
     
  2. Need for common map set and other aids-to-navigation for field data collection teams.
    • GPS/GIS-enabled data that can be downloaded for mobile applications.
    • Georeferenced maps that overlay road network on recent (pre-storm) aerials – hardcopy, laminated maps. These would be ideal for out-of-town researchers/teams.
    • Non-georeferenced maps of post-storm conditions would also be a good first-available tool – often can be ready in the first day or two after event. Teams familiar with the area could use these easily, but out-of-towners would likely have a tough time.
    • Recommend use of U.S. National Grid (a.k.a. Military Grid Reference System) – has been adopted at Federal level and is installed in newer GPS/handheld devices; slower to be implement at state/local levels.
       
  3. Hardened water sensors – water level gauges
    • At a minimum, want data on peak water elevation, but time series would be ideal. Need this info to try to predict when floodwaters will recede so that first responders and later research teams can safely enter flooded areas.
    • Discussion of use of pressure sensors that could estimate depth of floodwater based on weight of water column.
    • Runup sensors have been developed for tsunami-prone areas (e.g., Puerto Rico, Pacific Islands)
       
  4. Communications network for recording and transmitting data – from the field to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) or other ultimate data repository. Discussion of various tools/equipment, including: satellite, GPS-enabled devices, PDAs, radio.
     
  5. QA/QC and consensus standards needed for data – will increase utility/interoperability of data collected and derivative products generated.
     
  6. Need for a data clearinghouse/repository
    • Questions about who will have access (EMs, locals, researchers, only, or public/“internet tourists,” too?). Could have bandwidth implications.
    • Establish scientific liaison for specific event – someone to help coordinate field research teams and communicate findings or explain products to EOC staff, as appropriate. This individual would be incorporated into the incident command structure. Position could be staffed by disaster using mutual-aid agreements like EMAC. Models for this would be the International Tsunami Information Center (run from Hawaii) and the energy companies; the latter has phenomenal mutual-aid agreements in place for disasters.
       
  7. Rainfall and riverine flooding/runoff need to be better integrated into inundation forecasts and decision-support tools. EMs want to know what’s going to get wet, when, how deep, and for how long – don’t care so much about origin of floodwaters (coastal vs. precip vs. runoff).

Pilot project discussion

  1. Create prototype for surge event clearing house. First step should be a needs assessment – identify key components (data collection, operational aspects/functions) and players (contr [[We seem to be missing some text here]]
     
  2. Develop plan and deploy tools to measure surge – pure surge, free of other flooding components. This would be assuming the current proof-of-concept study being managed by Doug Thompson is completed successfully.

Ranked priority products (same as PowerPoint presentation)

Ranking Product Key Observations/Components
H (1) Surge Event Clearinghouse One-stop shop for:
  • Credentialing of field data collection teams
  • Tracking of field teams and communication with/incorporation into incident command structure
  • Maps/aids to navigation (range from non-georeferenced, early imagery to GIS/GPS-enabled aerials overlain with street network
  • Data repository or clearinghouse (pointers to data producers), from HWMs to remotely sensed data
  • Standards and QA/QC requirements to post data
H (2) Communications system
  • Satellite phones, “Cellular-on-Wheels” (COW)
  • Needed to transmit data back, keep EOC posted on key findings or emergency situations that emerge
H (3) Time-series maps
  • Topo/bathy, gages, currents
  • Desire to know what areas got wet, how deep, where is water going and how fast (no products tell when the water will go away and it’s safe to return)

Breakout Session 3: Post-Event Recovery and Rebuilding

Open discussion/brainstorming of potential products needed after the storm to mitigate the effects of coastal inundation.

  1. Communications
    • Lots of discussion of tools/equipment needed to help communicate information about the flooding to emergency managers, other officials, the public, etc. Options included satellite TV, satellite phones, cellular phones (including cellphone-on-wheels’ mobile stations), AM radio, and Ham radio.
    • Need to outline best mechanisms for getting field data and assessments back in to EOC or other entities serving as data repositories, and for keeping the public informed about conditions (e.g., when is it safe to return, what to expect in terms of flood damage)
    • Steve Lyons described process where the Weather Channel can pre-empt normal programming and go live in specific areas. If a local TV station or affiliate still has functioning transmitters (studios not accessible/useable), the Weather Channel can route their signal through the station.
    • Steve also discussed his past experience in providing radio interviews to provide forecast info, supplementing his TV broadcasts.
       
  2. Building Inventory
    • Participants voiced a need to identify well (before the storm) what large and robust structures are available to help support relief and recovery efforts. For example, in catastrophic disasters like Katrina, there was a critical need for space to host relief organizations and other groups intending to stay long term.
    • Challenges in identifying adequate structures is that seldom are there large public spaces sitting unused, and private property vacancies will be dynamic from month to month.
       
  3. Mitigation tools–suggested data and derivative products
    • Discussion here centered on what’s needed to implement mitigation, and participants touched on all the major subject areas brought up over the previous two days–good data (meteorological, water levels, winds, etc.) and damage observations.
    • There’s a critical need for good wind-measuring devices–suspect that much of the damage we see is being caused by relatively low wind speeds (see last bullet).
    • Event-based inundation maps are essential for documenting what happened. Information from gauges and high water marks are critical.
    • Building specialists are needed to properly and consistently document damages–not just anyone is qualified to do this work. They’re also needed to provide assistance to local building officials, who will know what codes were in place as buildings were constructed over time. Assistance is also needed during rebuilding for inspections–the number of inspections needed can far exceed local capacity, allowing shoddy construction to become widespread.
    • These data must be used to accurately determine the type and intensity of forces that caused damage. Finding should then be fed into building codes, revised ordinances, or other requirements set by states/locals when rebuilding. Some suggested NIST and NOAA could partner to develop better codes, possibly adding an actuarial component. Would need to coordinate early with existing codes and standards groups on what improvements are needed.
    • There are examples of this post-Andrew and post-Katrina. However, since we still saw significant damage in South Florida attributable to Category 1 storms (Wilma; others?), it suggests that even the post-Andrew code changes weren’t enough to truly mitigate the hazards.
       
  4. Debris
    • Timely removal is integral to getting recovery going. In addition to clearing property to allow rebuilding, it poses serious health and wildfire hazards.
    • For the purposes of this workshop, discussion was kept to examination of data collection needs and potential resources.
    • Aerial imagery/photography and side-scan surveys would be key datasets. Funding for marine surveys will be the greatest challenge. One suggestion was to try to establish relationships (prior to the storm, if possible) between those needing the surveys with those agencies that fund debris removal. That is, can the agency pony up additional money to cover surveys so that the removal work can be done more quickly/efficiently?
       
  5. Environmental concerns, with emphasis on hazardous materials issues
    • Again, need for good data and interpreting products to support decision making:
      • Winds, currents, water levels, satellite imagery and data (temp., sea-surface height, turbidity/color, salinity, etc.), sampling of what’s in the water column
      • Data then feed into modeling of flow paths, dispersal mechanisms, critical interactions with flora/fauna, etc.) 
    • Early in recovery, there will (or should be) an emphasis on replacing instrumentation lost in the storm.
    • Participants reiterated the need for pre-storm baseline data on conditions and processes.
Ranking Product Key Observations/Components
1 Communications Network
  • Plan/system to communicate data–in from researchers, out to public and other users
  • TV (incl. satellite), AM radio, ham radio, satellite phones, "COW"
  • Digital data transfer–internet
  • Assessment to find out what works in post-storm setting
2 Environmental Data (for Haz Mat and other applications)
  • Winds, currents, sea state, satellite imagery (temperature, sea surface height, turbidity, color) –> models/flow paths
  • Testing to determine contaminants/concentrations
  • Essential to have backbone with pre-storm data to establish baseline conditions
3 Inundation maps
  • HWMs, SLOSH, waves, gages, aerial imagery, satellite
  • Rainfall and upland runoff
  • Innovative products to present results
4 Forensic engineering reports
  • Wind–from anemometers, hindcasts, wind engineers’ judgments
  • Water–HWMs, gauge readings, pressure sensors
5 Updated Flood Maps to reflect post-storm conditions
  • Updated topo/bathy, and all the other data needed for flood studies (see pre-storm product list)
  • RA contribute to modeling post-event
6 Debris Management Tools
  • Maps identifying location/quantity–photography, LIDAR pre/post, side-scan sonar for marine
  • Establish relationships between agencies with $$ and communities/states needing surveying to find debris
  • Identification of debris disposal sites

 


 

Appendix 7. Ongoing Projects Identified Prior to Inundation Workshop

 

From Robert Mason, USGS

Worth, here is a report that might be appropriate. See you in ‘Orleans. I have a poster of it as well.

From Sharon Hodge, Mississippi State

I am working on the outreach activities for the new Northern Gulf Institute at Stennis Space Center, MS. As callled for by NOAA for this cooperative institute is a plan for coastal resiliency in the region. We are looking for smart tools and good visuals to help in a new and improved smart growth. E.g., good maps (online is fine) that show Katrina surge or even worst case scenario surge and dynamic animation presentation systems for local planning and natural resource commisions to use in permitting processes.

Worth then asked, "Is this project intended to produce new or enhanced products or to aggregate links to existing ones and so make access to potential users easier/possible?"

Sharon replied, "Fair question; answer is both actually — I hope to address outreach in innovative ways, at all times avoiding duplicating efforts. By that token, I’ll need to know all that’s being done. (I’ve been involved in coastal management in the Gulf for the past 7 years and am fairly familiar with a lot of the activities.) The Northern Gulf Institute also aims to fill any gaps or unserved areas."

From Dave Reed, NOAA

Bob Stucky and Dave Reed will be representing the NWS Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center (LMRFC) at the Storm Surge meeting to be held in New Orleans next week. Here is a brief synopsis of how the LMRFC uses storm surge information.

The LMRFC is responsible for preparing river and flood forecasts for the rivers that drain into the Gulf of Mexico along the coasts of in Mississippi and Louisiana. We utilize output from the SLOSH model along with our hydrologic/hydraulic models to prepare forecasts at the river forecast locations that are affected by storm surge.

For the Mississippi River, we have linked our hydraulic model (DWOPER/FLDWAV) with SLOSH model output to forecast how the storm surge moves up the Mississippi River. We extract the projected storm surge height at West Pointe ala Hache on the Mississippi River and use those values as boundary conditions in our hydraulic model. This model then computes the movement of this surge upstream. We utilize this model output to prepare river forecasts for the lower reach of the Mississippi River. These procedures have been used at LMRFC for over 20 years.

For the other rivers that drain into the Gulf of Mexico, we extract the projected storm surge heights from SLOSH at our forecast locations on those rivers. Subjectively, we review the SLOSH output and the forecasted river levels from our hydrologic model and prepare a forecast for these locations.

We look forward to attending the conference in New Orleans.

From Aurelio Mercado, Director, Coastal Hazards Center of UPRM

Responding to Dr. Nowlin’s request “of currently ongoing projects intended to produce or update measurements or products needed to enhance resiliency to storm surge and inundation on the Gulf and Southeast U.S. coasts”, here are my 2-cents worth, though not for “Gulf and Southeast U.S. coasts”, but for US territories in the Caribbean.

The only ongoing project that I know of related with storm surges in Puerto Rico is the update of the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps that should be coming out sometime this spring. These maps have not been revised since 1999, and the ones that came out in 1999 were based on topography from the 40-60’s, and in some locations bathymetry from the early 1900’s. And the computational cells used in their preparation were on the order of 2 x 2 miles, too large to resolve the very narrow island shelf and very irregular coastlines of PR and the USVI. The update is being done by FEMA contractors Dewberry & Davis using the ADCIRC model with recently acquired LIDAR topography and bathymetry. The new maps will show the 100-year coastal flood.

For the past year and a half I have been working full time for NOAA on adapting to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands the tsunami forecast methodology they developed for the west coast. It involves a combination of tsunami modeling (generation/propagation/flooding) and the use of the recently installed DART buoys in the Caribbean and Atlantic in order to forecast in real time the impact a tsunami detected by one of the buoys will have on selected coastal cities in the islands.

From Richard Butgereit, Florida DEM

The Florida Division of Emergency Management is updating LiDAR data for our coastal areas. This new data will provide an improved digital elevevation model for use with storm surge modeling within Florida. New SLOSH models will be run using this new data, and the results compiled in new regional evacuation studies. More information may be found at http://www.floridadisaster.org/gis/LiDAR.

From Brian McCallum, USGS Georgia Water Science Center

Historically, hurricane-induced storm-surge has been documented after the event through analysis of flood evidence such as structural or vegetative damage, debris piles, high-water marks, and eyewitness accounts. However, these sources rarely provide quantitative information about the timing and duration of the flooding or the sequencing of multiple overland routes by which the storm-surge waters arrived. In response to these deficiencies, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) developed and deployed an experimental storm-surge network.

As Hurricane Rita approached the Texas and Louisiana coasts in September 2005, the USGS deployed 32 water-level and 14 barometric pressure sensors to record the magnitude, extent, and timing of hurricane storm surge and coastal flooding. Sensors were located at distances ranging from a few hundred feet to approximately 30 miles inland and covered an area of approximately 4,000 square miles (http://pubs.water.usgs.gov/ds220). Of the 32 locations where water-level sensors were deployed, significant inundation occurred at 24.

Water-level data for these sites were recorded every 30 seconds from just prior to landfall early on September 24 to several days later. Utilizing these data and a geographic information system, three-dimensional surfaces, and contour maps were constructed to depict various aspects of the storm-surge. These visualization tools show the arrival of the storm surge dome as it passed over the beaches and inland areas as well as an indication of the influence of topography and landfall location on the extent, depth, and the relative speed by which storm-surge waters penetrated inland areas. The maximum elevations of the fitted data were also contoured to temporally and spatially estimate water surface elevations. Maximum water surface elevations were also subtracted from a LIDAR digital-elevation model to determine maximum water depths throughout the inundated area.

Overlaying this information on other visualizations of hurricane impact, such as beach erosion and housing damage reports, could ultimately help emergency managers and resource planners to better understand surge mechanisms; help engineers to design more robust infrastructure, and assist insurance agents in assessing and settling insurance claims.

From Pat Fitzpatrick, Mississippi State University

The GeoResources Institute at Mississippi State University, as well as WorldWinds, Inc. (both located at Stennis Space Center, MS), and URS, Inc. (located in Baton Rouge, LA) have performed the following tasks:

  1. Hypothetical storm surge maps for Biloxi, MS using the ADvanced CIRCulation (ADCIRC) model.
  2. Sensitivity runs of the impact of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet on the hurricane storm surge using ADCIRC
  3. The use of IFSAR data to improve topography in storm surge maps

Current work at MSU includes:

  1. Timing of wind versus surge using ADCIRC in landfalling hurricane events
  2. A revised Saffir Simpson scale using the SLOSH model
  3. The impact of the Louisiana marshlands and the Mississippi River levees on the hurricane storm surge using ADCIRC