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Predicting Flooding and Coastal Hazards: USGS Hydrologists and Geologists Team Up at the National Hurricane Conference to Highlight Data Collection

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geographic extent of the Chandeleur Islands before and after Hurricane Katrina
Above: Geographic extent of the Chandeleur Islands before (left) and after (right) Hurricane Katrina. Images derived from USGS lidar (light detection and ranging) surveys conducted before and after the storm (learn more at Hurricane and Extreme Storm Impact Studies). [larger version]

At this year's National Hurricane Conference, held April 2-6 in New Orleans, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)'s Water Resources Discipline (WRD) and Coastal and Marine Geology (CMG) Program teamed up to promote USGS research to an audience of coastal planners and emergency managers. Robert Mason (WRD, Reston, Virginia) and Abby Sallenger (CMG, St. Petersburg, Florida) collaborated on a display for the conference expo, highlighting recent work in coastal-erosion and storm-surge research. Laura Fauver (CMG, St. Petersburg, Florida) and Brian McCallum (WRD, Atlanta, Georgia) staffed the USGS exhibit at the expo, engaging county-level planners in discussions about USGS research and data products that may better facilitate their planning efforts.

Two USGS research programs were highlighted at the expo; one of them was WRD's efforts to monitor storm surge during Hurricane Rita. This work, headed by Robert Mason and Brian McCallum, used a temporary network of pressure gauges that are deployed in the vicinity of expected landfall as a storm approaches the U.S. coastline. Before Hurricane Rita, USGS personnel deployed 47 sensors, which continuously recorded storm-surge height as coastal Louisiana was inundated. (A similar deployment is described in Sound Waves article, "Monitoring Hurricane Wilma's Storm Surge.")

The second program featured at the expo was the coastal lidar (light detection and ranging) monitoring program headed by Abby Sallenger. This research focuses on monitoring coastal and barrier-island erosion that occurs during extreme storms and developing relevant predictors for future coastal-erosion events. The Chandeleur Islands in Louisiana were highlighted as an area of extreme coastal change, having lost 85 percent of their surface area during Hurricane Katrina. (See related Sound Waves articles, "Measuring Hurricane Impacts—USGS Coastal Hazards Team Is Up to the Challenge" and "Before-and-After Aerial Photographs Show Coastal Impacts of Hurricane Katrina."

inundation map of coastal Louisiana during Hurricane Rita
Above: Inundation map of coastal Louisiana during Hurricane Rita, developed by interpolating water-level data between sensor locations (from USGS Fact Sheet 2006-3136). [larger version]

Related Sound Waves Stories
Monitoring Hurricane Wilma's Storm Surge
February 2006
Measuring Hurricane Impacts—USGS Coastal Hazards Team Is Up to the Challenge
October 2005
Before-and-After Aerial Photographs Show Coastal Impacts of Hurricane Katrina
September 2005

Related Web Sites
Hurricane and Extreme Storm Impact Studies
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)
Monitoring Inland Storm Surge and Flooding from Hurricane Rita - USGS Fact Sheet 2006-3136
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)
National Hurricane Conference

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Real-Time Water Data via Satellite Telemetry

Outreach Decades-old USGS Current Drifter Found

Meetings USGS Science Highlighted at National Hurricane Conference

USGS Research Presented at Cape Cod Natural History Conference

USGS Exhibit at GSA's Northeastern Section Meeting

National Parks and Caribbean Marine Reserves Research and Monitoring Workshop

Publications Timely Report Details Coastal Landslide

June Publications List U. S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
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Updated May 06, 2014 @ 02:12 PM (JSS)