1470 Combining the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) with Earth Observations to Predict Social Outcomes from an Extreme Weather Event: A Study of Hurricane Harvey

Wednesday, 15 January 2020
Hall B (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Lauren N. Deanes, The Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, MD; and B. F. Zaitchik, S. Swarup, E. Hallisey, D. Sharpe, and J. M. Gohlke

As we experience more intense weather events, it is increasingly necessary to be able to assist vulnerable communities before and after these disasters. The Social Vulnerability Index (SVI), a tool developed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is used to identify and rank American socially vulnerable areas at the county and census tract levels. While social vulnerability is certainly a factor that should be considered in emergency management, it cannot explain the societal impacts of extreme weather alone. It is also important to consider where a weather event is most intense (e.g., where the flooding is most extensive or where the winds are most powerful). Using Hurricane Harvey and the Houston metropolitan area as a case study, we characterize social outcomes (e.g. FEMA assistance applications) using a combination of SVI and earth observations (EO). EO include satellite inundation and rainfall data, among others. We hope to apply any successful strategies in combining SVI with EO to preparedness and response efforts in future extreme weather events.
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