Hurricane Storm Surge Risk Assessment for the Yucatan State Coastal Area

Friday, 22 April 2016: 10:00 AM
Ponce de Leon B (The Condado Hilton Plaza)
Wilmer Rey, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Sisal, Yucatan, Mexico; and P. Salles, E. T. Mendoza, M. A. Trejo, K. Zhang, Y. C. Teng, C. L. Fritz, and J. R. Rhome

Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula is highly vulnerable to storm surge yet few tools exists to allow vulnerability analysis and real-time forecasting. In order to assess storm surge risk for the Yucatan Coast, a collaborative effort between the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and Florida International University (FIU) ensued to build a first ever SLOSH (Sea, Lake, Overland Surges from Hurricanes) grid for the Yucatan Peninsula. Simulations of storm surge produced by SLOSH were compared to Mike 21, a 2D hydrodynamic model with a flexible unstructured mesh. Both models were validated by utilizing a high water mark located on Holbox Island during the pass of Hurricane Wilma (2005). More than 40,000 SLOSHsimulations were then computed to represent hypothetical hurricane scenarios and to estimate the potential storm surge and inundation threat associated with each scenario. Results were used to compute the Maximum Envelopes of Water (MEOW) and Maximum of MEOWs (MOMs) for both low and high tide. MEOWs as well as MOMs represent the near worst case storm surge flooding scenarios at a regional level. The results of this work are being used to evaluate the feasibility and data requirements associated with building SLOSH grids for Mexico and other Latin American countries, specifically those in the Caribbean.
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