Developing City-Wide Hurricane Impact Maps using Real-Life Data on Infrastructure, Vegetation and Weather

Hurricanes affect thousands of people annually, with devastating consequences such as loss of life, vegetation and infrastructure. Vegetation losses such as downed trees and infrastructure disruptions such as toppled power lines often lead to roadway closures. These disruptions can be life threatening for the victims. Emergency officials, therefore, have been trying to find ways to alleviate such problems by identifying those locations that pose high risk in the aftermath of hurricanes. This paper proposes an integrated methodology that utilizes both Google Earth Engine (GEE) and geographical information systems (GIS). First, GEE is used to access Sentinel-2 satellite images and calculate the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) to investigate the vegetation change as a result of Hurricane Michael in the City of Tallahassee. Second, through the use of ArcGIS, data on wind speed, debris, roadway density and demographics are incorporated into the methodology in addition to the NDVI indices to assess the overall impact of the hurricane. As a result, city-wide hurricane impact maps are created using weighted indices created based on all these data sets. Findings indicate that the northeast side of the city was the worst affected because of the hurricane. This is a region where more seniors live, and such disruptions can lead to dramatic consequences because of the fragility of these seniors. Officials can pinpoint the identified critical locations for future improvements such as roadway geometry modification and landscaping justification.

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    • The contents of this paper and discussion represent the authors’ opinions and do not reflect the official views of the City of Tallahassee or of StormGeo. © National Academy of Sciences: Transportation Research Board 2020.
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  • Publication Date: 2020


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01760408
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 16 2020 3:08PM