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Hydrology Engineers at UW Aid in Predictions of Hurricane Irene!

August 29, 2011

Last Thursday, August 25, a request came from the commander of U.S. Army Corps in charge of coastal defenses in the northeast region to the Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) of the Corps to forecast inland flooding effect.  ERDC has been using the Gridded Surface/Subsurface Hydrologic Analysis (GSSHA) for several years in studies of the effect of storm surge and sea-level change on coastal military facilities and cities.  The GSSHA model has been used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to predict the inland effects of predicted storm surge from hurricane Irene on New York City and Long Island.  GSSHA model development has been lead by Professor Fred Ogden of the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and his students in conjunction with ERDC. 

GSSHA simulations were driven by storm surge forecasts, and simulated the flow of sea-water over New York City and Long Island.  Model outputs included maps of maximum flooded depth.   These output maps were animated using GoogleEarth and shown to the leadership of New York City including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who used this information to evacuate coastal and low-lying areas and plan for the coming disaster.

The GSSHA modeling work was done by Dr. Nawa Pradhan, who worked at the University of Wyoming with Professor Ogden as a post-doctoral associate from 2006-2010, and Mr. Aaron Byrd, both of whom work in the Coastal and Hydraulics lab of ERDC in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Advisory 25 final results (pdf)


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