Ida (August 26 – 31, 2021) made landfall as a strong category 4 hurricane near Port Fourchon, LA on August 29. The impacts of Ida are far-reaching across Southeastern Louisiana and beyond. Over a million customers in the region were without power, and for some, restoration is estimated to take weeks or longer. The greater New Orleans area was left completely in the dark, leaving officials scrambling to determine the best path to bring the city and surrounding areas back up. The devastation caused in the coastal areas like Grand Isle, where 100% of structures are reported to have sustained damage, will take years to rebuild. Intense flooding in the River Parishes left homes and businesses destroyed.
CERA delivered visualizations for storm surge model runs from the ADCIRC Surge Guidance System (ASGS) for the NHC official forecast, veer left and veer right scenarios and an increase in overland speed from advisory #6 through #18.
CERA maps from the Compound Flood Inundation Guidance System (CFIGS) were delivered for special advisories. This was the first time that CFIGS went operational for a storm event to provide results in real-time.
CERA got more than 20,000 page views from the public website and 9,000 page views from users with a login during the storm. 350 subscribed users were active on the site during the storm.
CERA/ASGS/CFIGS results were used by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) to brief the Louisiana Governor.
CERA received numerous new login requests from high-ranking agencies and organizations, including the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP).
CERA provided GeoTiff imagery for the inundation impacts that were used by the DHS HAZUS Group for damage assessment, among others.
On July 27, 2021, the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Central Operations upgraded the Global Extratropical Surge & Tide Operational Forecast System (Global ESTOFS) to version 2. This upgrade contains major improvements in model performance, resolution, and coverage to provide high resolution water level forecast guidance including storm tide for the entire globe.
The CERA visualization system makes this upgrade available through it’s online portal at cera.coastalrisk.live. Additionally to the Global ESTOFS data, CERA will now also display global track information for currently active tropical systems.
FEMA’s Hazus Program provides standardized tools and data for estimating risk from earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and hurricanes.
We have recently learned that the FEMA Hazus Development Group uses our CERA storm surge guidance visualization system to validate the development of a data tool for integrating hazard data into the FEMA Hazus application.
The fifth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season formed over the Atlantic early Thursday (July 1).
According to the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Elsa tracks westward at a quick pace of 25 mph.
Together with our partners at Seahorse Coastal Consulting , LSU High Performance Center, and the Texas Advanced Computing Center , the CERA Group has started storm surge guidance using the storm surge model ADCIRC.
Tropical Storm Claudette (17 June – 21 June , 2021) was already the third named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season but the first tropical system that targeted both the Gulf and the Atlantic coasts.
We used high resolution storm surge model meshes for the States of Louisiana and North Carolina and a vortex wind model to represent the NHC consensus track wind fields and the associated predicted storm surge through the ADCIRC Surge Guidance System.
The Compound Flood Inundation Guidance System delivered flood guidance showing compound threat predictions from surge and rainfall for watersheds in Louisiana once daily from June 16 through June 19 and an after-storm guidance on June 21.
Potential Tropical Cyclone Three has formed in the Northern Gulf and might strengthen into a tropical system before making landfall along the southern Louisiana coastline. After two short-lived tropical systems in the Atlantic, this would already be the third named storm of the season 2021 – Claudette.
The LSU Coastal Emergency Risks Assessment (CERA) visualization tool was recently listed by The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority as one of their frequently used sites in a CPRA Board Meeting presentation.
CPRA LA uses CERA as an emergency assessment tool to view the impacts of modeled storm surge for hurricanes and tropical events delivered by the ADCIRC Surge Guidance System (ASGS). The ASGS was developed by Seahorse Coastal Consulting, a long-term partner of CERA.
Additionally, compound flooding guidance will become operational to CPRA for the upcoming 2021 hurricane season through the Compound Flood Inundation Guidance System (CFIGS) developed by CE Hydro. The CFIGS model will capture combined influences of storm surge and precipitation for watersheds in Louisiana that are of particular interest to CPRA for emergency response tasks. The CFIGS model results will be presented on the CERA interface through inundation animations (depth of water above ground) and hydrographs for water level comparison to model prediction (50 stations from USGS, USACE, and NWS).
One lesson learned from the 2020 hurricane season was that it is difficult to identify the areas of highest risk based solely on inundation mapping. CFIGS will therefore also introduce a new flood hazard layer to quickly identify areas during an event with a high risk of structural flooding.
On May 22, the National Hurricane Center started issuing advisories for subtropical storm Ana that had formed near Bermuda – the first storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season which officially starts on June 1.
The Coastal Emergency Risks Assessment (CERA) Group at Louisiana State University provides storm surge and flood inundation guidance through its interactive visualization portal all season. Please check our CERA storm surge tool at cera.coastalrisk.live for updates and get connected with our partners through Seahorse Coastal Consulting at LinkedIn.
On May 20, NOAA issued it’s 2021 hurricane seasonal outlooks for the Atlantic and East Pacific basins. For the Atlantic, an active season is predicted.
According to NOAA, several climate factors that favor increased activity are reflected in this outlook, including: – the ongoing high-activity era that is in place since 1995 – ENSO Neutral or LaNina (will not suppress hurricane activity) – warmer-than-average sea-surface temperatures – reduced vertical wind shear – weaker Atlantic tropical trade winds – an enhanced African monsoon.
“Forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. However, experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020.”