Hurricane Threat and Risk Analysis in Rhode Island

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  Hurricane Threat and Risk Analysis in Rhode Island presented at the July 24, 2014 Beach Special Area Management Plan Stakeholder meeting. Dr. Isaac Ginis, URI Graduate School of Oceanography View the video here:
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  • 1. Graduate School of Oceanography Isaac Ginis, Richard Yablonsky, and Tracy McCormick The Hurricane Threat and Risk Analysis in Rhode Island Hurricane Gloria on Sept. 27, 1985 (NOAA) Beach SAMP Stakeholder Meeting: Hurricanes and Storm Recovery in Rhode Island July 24, 2014
  • 2. • Frequency and severity – How often do hurricanes make landfall? – Where? – How strong? • Physical hazards – What is the spatial pattern of the wind? – How high is the storm surge? – How much rain falls? • Vulnerability How much damage is caused by physical hazards? RI Hurricane Threat
  • 3. Tropical Cyclones Impacting RI since 1851 Total Number: 56
  • 4. Tropical Cyclones Impacting RI since 1851
  • 5. Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635 Figure 2.1 Track of the Great Colonial hurricane of 26 August 1635, with hourly positions in local standard time and central pressure in millibars. Possible 80°F SST isotherm also shown. Jarvinen (2006) Storm Tides Figure 2.2 Track of the Great Colonial hurricane of 26 August 1635, with hourly positions in local standard time, pressure in millibars and SLOSH model maximum over water 1-minute wind speed in miles per hour. Circles represent location of maximum wind with radius given in statute miles. Wind vectors show where maximum wind is occurring at that time. Wind barbs in mph.
  • 6. Great September Gale of 1815 Figure 3.1 Track of the Great September Gale on September 23, 1815, with hourly positions in local standard time and central pressure in millibars. Figure 3.2 Track of the September 23, 1815 hurricane with hourly positions in local standard time, pressure in millibars and SLOSH model maximum over water 1-minute wind speed in miles per hour. Circles represent location of maximum wind with radius given in statute miles. Wind vectors show where maximum wind is occurring at that time. Wind barbs in mph. Figure 3.3 Graphical computation of the storm tide hydrograph from the addition of the SLOSH and tide hydrographs at two locations. The peak of the storm tide hydrograph is compared to the observed height. SLOSH model over water 1-minute wind speeds in miles per hour are plotted with wind barbs indicating direction. Jarvinen (2006) Storm Tides
  • 7. Storm Surge: New England Hurricane (1938)
  • 8. Hurricane Sandy, 2012 1938 Hurricane Sept 20 Sept 21 Oct 26 Oct 29 A tale of Two Hurricanes
  • 9. • 8:30 am – hurricane centered near Cape Hatteras • 2:30 pm – made landfall in Long Island • 4:00 pm – made landfall in CT, RI • 6:00 pm – reached Vermont • 10:00 pm – crossed into Quebec September 21, 1938 Forward speed reached 70 mph, the highest recorded!
  • 10. Sandy: Maximum Sustained Winds (kt)
  • 11. Sandy: Maximum Wind Gusts (kt)
  • 12. Hurricane Wind Measurements – WeatherFlow Mesonet GSO Anemometer: Monday, Oct 29, 2012 100 anemometers designed to survive hurricane winds Invaluable source of high quality hurricane wind measurements
  • 13. Inland Flooding: Connie & Diane (1955) CT State Library, State Archives, File Name 55flood17 NOAA/WPC NOAA/WPC Naugatuck, CT: August 19, 1955
  • 14. Inland Flooding: Esther (1961) NOAA/WPC
  • 15. Inland Flooding: Irene (2011) NOAA/WPC Margaretville, NY VT Route 100 Windham, NY Windham, NY Wilbur’s Pt., Fairhaven, MA
  • 16. • Most hurricanes approaching RI undergo a transition from pure Tropical to “Extratropical”. This transition implies significant changes in the storm size, wind structure and rainfall pattern. • The area of high winds and rain often expands significantly. As a result, a wider area is affected and storm’s total energy increases in many cases. Common Characteristics of RI Hurricanes
  • 17. Cyclones: Tropical vs. Extratropical (Nor’easters) Hurricane Katrina: August 28, 2005 “Superstorm”: March 13, 1993 • Derives energy from ocean surface via release of latent heat in convective clouds • Derives energy from horizontal temperature gradients (baroclinic instability) • Develops best in a barotropic environment, far from jet stream disturbances • Develops best in a highly baroclinic environment, close to jet stream disturbances
  • 18. “Late” extratropical transition of Hurricane Arthur (July 1-7, 2014) Escuminac, N.B. Eastern Canada Fredericton, N.B.
  • 19. Frequency: Some computer models indicate either reduction or increase in TC frequency. However, most models show reduction of 0-20%. We have very low confidence in projected changes in individual basins. Tropical Cyclone Projections Due to Global Warming Intensity: More intense tropical cyclones (2-11% for an IPCC A1B scenario). The frequency of the most intense (rare/high-impact) storms will likely increase by a substantially larger percentage in some basins. Rainfall: Rates are likely to increase. The projected magnitude is on the order of +20%.
  • 20. “Downscaling” Method to Model the Impact of Global Warming on Frequencies and Intensities of Atlantic hurricanes Source: Bender et al., Science, 2010.
  • 21. 21st Century Climate Warming Projected Changes in Atlantic Hurricane Frequency Colored bars show changes for the 18 model CMIP3 ensemble (27 seasons); dots show range of changes across 4 individual CMIP models (13 seasons). Cat 4+5 frequency: 81% increase, or 10% per decade Source: Bender et al., Science, 2010. Estimated net impact of these changes on damage potential: +28%
  • 22. Hurricane Risk Analysis in RI • How well do we understand the hurricane risk? • Do we have necessary modeling tools? …Not really… • The primary tool is FEMA’s HAZUS based on NOAA’s SLOSH model developed in the mid 1960s
  • 23. Parametric Wind Model Used in SLOSH Radial distance WindSpeed Simplified Axisymmetric Wind Profile Typical parameters used: Vm, Rm, Pc, Po Asymmetries are added by including translation velocity vector. Not suitable for RI hurricanes undergoing extra- tropical transition!
  • 24. A Need for Actionable Science for Risk-informed Decisions • RI needs robust, scientifically defensible modeling tools to quantify the combined coastal and inland hazards from hurricanes. • Advanced modeling tools will help to more accurately and clearly communicate hurricane risks to RI stakeholders, including threats to life, property and existing or planned infrastructure.
  • 25. Hurricane Risk Modeling Strategy for RI To use advanced hurricane-ocean coupled models at open-ocean scales (a), multiple coastal ocean circulation, surge, and wave models from the shelf (b) to estuaries (c), to urbanized estuary-tributary interface (d), combined with watershed rainfall runoff and river flood models and environmental biogeochemical/ecological models
  • 26. Numerical Weather Prediction Hurricane Models •The 3-D physical processes governing the evolution of the hurricane are simulated, resulting in realistic estimates of the surface wind and rainfall. •This approach must be adopted for hurricane risk analysis in RI
  • 27. U.S. Operational Hurricane Models • GFDL/GFDN – used by National Hurricane Center (NHC) in the Atlantic Ocean and East Pacific since 1995 and Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) in all ocean basins since 1998 • HWRF – used by NHC in the Atlantic since and East Pacific in 2007 and JTWC in the West Pacific since 2013 The GSO hurricane research group has been involved in the development and improvements of GFDL/GFDN and HWRF models in collaborations with NOAA and Navy scientists.
  • 28. Nested Movable Grid Configuration in Hurricane Models
  • 29. GFDL Hurricane-Ocean Coupled Model Forecast of Hurricane Katrina (2005)
  • 30. Applying NOAA’s GFDL model for wind field simulation during hurricane landfall Hurricane Isabel (2003)
  • 31. Numerical weather prediction vs. parametric wind fields
  • 32. Landcover Variability in RI and Hurricane Wind •Different landcovers (or surface roughness) have different “frictional” characteristics which dramatically affect the winds near the ground. • Variations in landcover are responsible for most of the local variability in the wind fields over relatively small distances. (Landcover refers to the homes, forests, fields, and rivers)
  • 33. Hypothetical “Hurricane Rhody” High-impact, physically realistic scenario based on historical hurricanes that affected RI
  • 34. Summary • Robust hurricane risk analysis is required for better preparation and mitigation of hurricane hazards in RI. • Advanced wind, coastal and inland flood models will improve accuracy of storm-induced and post-storm environmental impacts. • Climate change-induced increases in hurricane intensity, rainfall, and sea level rise will exacerbate wind, inland and coastal flooding impacts.
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