10.3 Coastal Flood Decision Support Tool for Forecast Operations in Alaska

Thursday, 14 January 2016: 2:00 PM
Room 255/257 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Andrew David Moore, NOAA, Washington DC, DC

Coastal flooding and erosion poses a serious threat to infrastructure, livelihood, and property for communities along Alaska's northern and western coastline. While the National Weather Service Alaska Region (NWS-AR) forecasts conditions favorable for coastal flooding, an improvement can be made in communicating event impacts between NWS-AR and local residents. Scientific jargon used by NWS-AR to indicate the severity of flooding potential is often misconstrued by residents. Additionally, the coastal flood forecasting process is cumbersome and time consuming due to scattered sources of flood guidance. To alleviate these problems, a single coastal flooding decision support tool was created for Fairbanks Weather Forecast Office to help bridge the communication gap, streamline the forecast and warning process, and take into account both the meteorological and socioeconomic systems at work during a flood event. This tool builds on previous research and data collected by the Alaskan Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys (DGGS) and the NWS-AR, using high resolution elevation data to model the impacts of storm tide rise above the mean lower low water level on five of the most at-risk communities along the Alaskan coast. Important local buildings and infrastructure are highlighted, allowing forecasters to relate the severity of the storm tide in terms of local landmarks that are familiar to residents. In this way, this decision support tool allows for a conversion from model output storm tide levels into real world impacts that are easily understood by forecasters, emergency managers, and other stakeholders, helping to build a Weather-Ready Nation.
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