557 Real-time TC Impact information for emergency and operational decision making

Tuesday, 24 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Sean S. Miller, Kinetic Analysis Corporation, Silver Spring, MD

Handout (41.6 MB)

Real-time TC Impact information for emergency and operational decision making

Emergency and operations managers depend upon accurate and timely tropical cyclone hazard and impact intelligence to support the challenging decisions that must be made to protect and support people, facilities, assets and investments under potential threat from an impending tropical system. These critical decisions must be made in the midst of uncertainty about the potential path and impact of a tropical cyclone event. Traditionally, general forecast information is used to support such decisions; information on anticipated impacts takes the pure hazard data a step further by giving insight into more tangible threat information to enable emergency action planning and decisions. There is readably available meteorological hazard information from a variety of government and commercial sources, but few of these offer the ability to quickly assess the potential impacts that these hazards pose for life and property. By translating the pure meteorological hazards into associated impacts, it facilitates the ability for emergency planning officials to focus efforts on risk planning and mitigation efforts and less time distilling complex meteorological scenarios.  

While great strides in tropical cyclone forecasting have been made, uncertainty has and will continue to play an integral role in determining how to best communicate threats associated with tropical cyclones. Tangible impact assessments within the context of the potential tropical cyclone forecast information enable emergency managers to understand and communicate how the different forecast scenarios might impact populations and critical assets in the path of an impending tropical cyclone. As minor adjustments in track and/or intensity of the storm can drastically alter the nonlinear downstream impacts, impact-based discussions can more clearly convey the implications of a current forecast. In a situation where there is greater disparity between forecast scenarios, there is indication that greater uncertainty exists in the forecast outcome and with greater agreement, increased confidence in the anticipated hazards and resultant impacts.  

The challenge confounding the estimation of hazard impacts is that those impacts have a non-linear relationship to the underlying hazard forces. Impacts are determined by the location, extent and severity of the hazards and their intersection with the exposures, assets or people at risk. The accuracy of the track and intensity forecast is paramount in the accurate depiction of hazards as they are a primary driver of damage and impact estimates. As discussed, one way to mitigate or place into context the fluctuations in these estimates is to provide multiple scenarios for the same storm, which help to convey the relative uncertainty in the potential impacts.  

Real-time TC hazard and impact information

To enable a deeper understanding and analysis of current tropical cyclones and their impacts, Kinetic Analysis provides accurate real-time tropical cyclone hazard and impact information by leveraging core modeling technology that produces integrated wind, storm surge, wave and climatological rainfall based on a modular, extensible, GIS based parametric tropical cyclone hazard model. The detailed hazard model results build on the important tools and guidance from the authoritative tropical cyclone forecasting agencies, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC).  These impact estimates serve for both preparedness (forecasts) and immediate post-event response before there is adequate time to deploy resources in the field for in-situ damage assessments. The impact assessments provided by the model driven hazard intelligence can serve as further support to Emergency Management operations already absorbing guidance available from governmental agencies such as NWS/NHC, FEMA, and reinforces the effort behind the Weather-Ready Nation initiative.   

Using our hazard and impact modeling platform, Kinetic Analysis produces detailed tropical cyclone hazard footprints and translates those hazard into a variety of different impacts to include population impacts, total economic damage / insured losses and asset specific damages. The population impact assessment is based on the estimated population affected by Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale wind categories and a global distributed population database, with impact estimates available at the country and administrative area levels. These impact estimates can be used in evacuation planning for determining how many people may need to be evacuated from a particular area, or the size of the potential response effort required. 

The seamless global coverage of highly resolved socioeconomic data also provides the economic impact assessments, in the form of total economic and insured losses by country-level administrative area unit. These estimates are good estimations of the type of economic damage a storm may cause and is a good proxy for determining when a storm is going to affect an area of greater wealth or more economic activity than rural agricultural areas.  

Site-specific asset damage impacts are also available for any active event, with sea-ports and airport damages and downtime periods currently implemented. The damage modeling component is flexible enough to handle a wide array of asset types, with a large number of asset type categorizations built into the system.  This enables those with specific interests in a particular asset class or sector to receive time critical damage/impact related intelligence in real-time with a potential for this to be extended in to an alert based system based on critical damage thresholds.  

Real-time impact estimates—of population, economic damages, and asset-specific damage estimates—provide emergency and operations managers with detailed information on the expected consequences of current tropic cyclone forecasts, which can be used directly in conjunction with existing emergency plans, for selecting and implementing emergency response actions appropriate to the specific threat from a current active tropical cyclone event.

Supplementary URL: https://rtfs.kinanco.com/public_docs/AL142016_Matthew.pdf

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