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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024
  2. Earthquakes cause outages of power transmission system components due to direct physical damage and also through the initiation of cascading processes. This article explores what are the optimal capacity investments to increase the resilience of electric power transmission systems to earthquakes and how those investments change with respect to two issues: (1) the impact of including cascades in the investment optimization model and (2) the impact of focusing more heavily on the early stages of the outages after the earthquake in contrast to more evenly focusing on outages across the entire restoration process. A cascading outage model driven by the statistics of sample utility data is developed and used to locate the cascading lines. We compare the investment plans with and without the modeling of the cascades and with different levels of importance attached to outages that occur during different periods of the restoration process. Using a case study of the Eastern Interconnect transmission grid, where the seismic hazard stems mostly from the New Madrid Seismic Zone, we find that the cascades have little effect on the optimal set of capacity enhancement investments. However, the cascades do have a significant impact on the early stages of the restoration process. Also, the cascading lines can be far away from the initial physically damaged lines. More broadly, the early stages of the earthquake restoration process is affected by the extent of the cascading outages and is critical for search and rescue as well as restoring vital services. Also, we show that an investment plan focusing more heavily on outages in the first 3 days after the earthquake yields fewer outages in the first month, but more outages later in comparison with an investment plan focusing uniformly on outages over an entire 6-month restoration process.

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  4. McNeill, Fiona ; Zobel, Christopher (Ed.)
    Information is a critical need during disasters such as hurricanes. Increasingly, people are relying upon cellular and internet-based technology to communicate that information—modalities that are acutely vulnerable to the disruptions to telecommunication infrastructure that are common during disasters. Focusing on Hurricane Maria (2017) and its long-term impacts on Puerto Rico, this research examines how people affected by severe and sustained disruptions to telecommunications services adapt to those disruptions. Leveraging social media trace data as a window into the real-time activities of people who were actively adapting, we use a primarily qualitative approach to identify and characterize how people changed their telecommunications practices and routines—and especially how they changed their locations—to access Wi-Fi and cellular service in the weeks and months after the hurricane. These findings have implications for researchers seeking to better understand human responses to disasters and responders seeking to identify strategies to support affected populations. 
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