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  1. In this study, a novel framework was developed to provide a holistic damage assessment caused by severe hydrologic events whether individually or as a compound event. The novel framework uses a developed hurricane-specific water quality model, Environmental Fluid Dynamic Code-Storm Surge model (EFDC-SS) and an ArcGIS-based framework, the Facility Economic Damage and Environmental Release Planning (FEDERAP) to assess damages to the built and natural environment. The developed framework could be used to compare different hurricanes and storms with a focus on land inundation, spill destination in both land and water and their associated risks, as well as economic loss including both physical and secondary losses. The results showed different spreading mechanisms during surge and rainfall-based hurricanes. While storm surge pushed contaminants (from spills) upstream, the rainfall-based hurricane caused a larger footprint of contamination on land. Though different in spreading patterns, spills during both hurricane types can widely spread miles away from the release location in a very short period of time. The FEDERAP economic loss model showed that facility area, average land elevation, the number of storage tanks and process units at the facility, and daily production are key drivers in the calculated total losses for a given hydrologic event.
  2. Abstract

    Superfund sites could affect life expectancy (LE) via increasing the likelihood of exposure to toxic chemicals. Here, we assess to what extent such presence could alter the LE independently and in the context of sociodemographic determinants. A nationwide geocoded statistical modeling at the census tract level was undertaken to estimate the magnitude of impact. Results showed a significant difference in LE among census tracts with at least one Superfund site and their neighboring tracts with no sites. The presence of a Superfund site could cause a decrease of −0.186 ± 0.027 years in LE. This adverse effect could be as high as −1.22 years in tracts with Superfund sites and high sociodemographic disadvantage. Specific characteristics of Superfund sites such as being prone to flooding and the absence of a cleanup strategy could amplify the adverse effect. Furthermore, the presence of Superfund sites amplifies the negative influence of sociodemographic factors at lower LEs.

  3. Compound flooding is a physical phenomenon that has become more destructive in recent years. Moreover, compound flooding is a broad term that envelops many different physical processes that can range from preconditioned, to multivariate, to temporally compounding, or spatially compounding. This research aims to analyze a specific case of compound flooding related to tropical cyclones where the compounding effect is on coastal flooding due to a combination of storm surge and river discharge. In recent years, such compound flood events have increased in frequency and magnitude, due to a number of factors such as sea-level rise from warming oceans. Therefore, the ability to model such events is of increasing urgency. At present, there is no holistic, integrated modeling system capable of simulating or forecasting compound flooding on a large regional or global scale, leading to the need to couple various existing models. More specifically, two more challenges in such a modeling effort are determining the primary model and accounting for the effect of adjacent watersheds that discharge to the same receiving water body in amplifying the impact of compound flooding from riverine discharge with storm surge when the scale of the model includes an entire coastal line. In this study,more »we investigated the possibility of using the Advanced Circulation (ADCIRC) model as the primary model to simulate the compounding effects of fluvial flooding and storm surge via loose one-way coupling with gage data through internal time-dependent flux boundary conditions. The performance of the ADCIRC model was compared with the Hydrologic Engineering Center- River Analysis System (HEC-RAS) model both at the watershed and global scales. Furthermore, the importance of including riverine discharges and the interactions among adjacent watersheds were quantified. Results showed that the ADCIRC model could reliably be used to model compound flooding on both a watershed scale and a regional scale. Moreover, accounting for the interaction of river discharge from multiple watersheds is critical in accurately predicting flood patterns when high amounts of riverine flow occur in conjunction with storm surge. Particularly, with storms such as Hurricane Harvey (2017), where river flows were near record levels, inundation patterns and water surface elevations were highly dependent on the incorporation of the discharge input from multiple watersheds. Such an effect caused extra and longer inundations in some areas during Hurricane Harvey. Comparisons with real gauge data show that adding internal flow boundary conditions into ADCIRC to account for river discharge from multiple watersheds significantly improves accuracy in predictions of water surface elevations during coastal flooding events.« less