Photo: CHAMPS Lab.
A sample map of Tampa Bay showing storm surge projections for a hypothetical Category 4 hurricane.
UCF Researchers Studying Storm Surge Effects of Hurricanes on Florida Cities
Sept. 15, 2005
By Chad Binette
A Category 4 hurricane could cause a storm surge of as much as 25 feet in
Scott Hagen, an associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering,
and his team of graduate students have started analyzing the potential effects
of a Category 4 hurricane striking the
Hagen and the graduate students also plan to study the potential effects of
storm surges on
“We’ll never have a flood up to our rooftops like New Orleans, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be pockets of flooding in our cities that have the potential to cause drownings,” said Hagen, who is director of the Coastal Hydroscience Analysis, Modeling and Predictive Simulations Laboratory, which is known as the CHAMPS Lab.
Hagen said cities will have to balance their risks of storm surges with the costs of fortifying sea walls and levees when they decide how much protection they want to add. They also need to consider the gradually rising sea level, he said.
“Usually, we’ll say if we have a 99.5 percent confidence level that it’s not
going to fail, we’re going to feel pretty good,” Hagen said. “We can live with
that year in and year out, but there’s still that one-half percent chance, and
that’s what you saw in
The research team’s analysis of
Graduate students working with
In related efforts, Hagen and the students are part of a program created to
improve the national system for forecasting winds, waves and storm surges
related to hurricanes. The goal of that project, funded by the National
Oceanographic Partnership Program, is to generate real-time, probabilistic storm
surge elevations for the
Hagen and his students also collaborate with the National Weather Service
Forecast Office in
More information about the CHAMPS Lab is available at http://champs.cecs.ucf.edu/.