Communicating Storm Surge Forecast Uncertainty

Friday, 22 April 2016: 9:45 AM
Ponce de Leon B (The Condado Hilton Plaza)
John A. Troutman, California University of Pennsylvania, California, PA

When it comes to tropical cyclones, storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property along the coastal United States. The coastal population density has dramatically increased over the past 20 years, putting more people at risk. Informing emergency managers, decision-makers and the public about the potential for wind driven storm surge, however, has been extremely difficult. Recently, the Storm Surge Unit at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida has developed a prototype experimental storm surge watch/warning graphic to help communicate this threat more effectively by identifying areas most at risk for life-threatening storm surge. This prototype is the initial step in the transition toward a NWS storm surge watch/warning system and highlights the inundation levels that have a 10% chance of being exceeded. The guidance for this product is the Probabilistic Hurricane Storm Surge (P-Surge) model, which predicts the probability of various storm surge heights by statistically evaluating numerous SLOSH model simulations. Questions remain, however, if exceedance values in addition to the 10% may be of equal importance to forecasters. P-Surge data from 2014 Hurricane Arthur is used to ascertain the practicality of incorporating other exceedance data into storm surge forecasts. Extracting forecast uncertainty information through analyzing P-surge exceedances overlaid with track and wind intensity forecasts proves to be beneficial for forecasters and decision support.
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