Did you know that about 85 tropical storms form annually over the warm tropical oceans of the globe? And while the majority of tropical cyclones happen in the northern hemisphere with most activity occurring between mid-August and mid-October, tropical cyclones in the southern hemisphere are most frequent during the December through April warm season.
The Coastal Emergency Risks Assessment (CERA) web storm surge guidance system provides water levels and wind information from NOAA’s Global Extratropical Surge and Tide Operational Forecast System (G-ESTOFS) for storm surge and wind guidance around the year. One of our latest features is the overlay of global hurricane and typhoon track information coming from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC).
In January 2022, the NOAA Coast Survey Development Lab (CSDL) was awarded funding to improve storm surge modeling to further enhance NOAA’s disaster preparedness and response. The Louisiana State University (LSU) Coastal Emergency Risks Assessment (CERA) web mapping application is an integral part of this collaborative project to deliver storm surge and inland flooding model results to the public and the modeling community.
The award was published in the February edition of NOAA’s Coast Survey Newsletter:
We are delighted to introduce our latest CERA enhancement that provides 558 global water level points from the NOAA Extratropical Surge and Tide Operational Forecast System (ESTOFS) system on a daily basis.
About ESTOFS: The NOAA/NOS/Coast Survey Development Lab and the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) produce storm surge guidance for extratropical systems through their Extratropical Surge and Tide Operational Forecast System (ESTOFS) four times daily out to 7.5 days. The ESTOFS model uses the storm surge model ADCIRC forced by real time output of atmospheric pressure, winds, and sea ice from the NCEP Global Forecast System (GFS) and is run on NOAA’s WCOSS super computing system to produce numerical outputs. The global unstructured grid consists of 8 million nodes with a coastal grid resolution of up to 80 m for Hawaii and the US West Coast, and up to 120 m for the US East Coast, Puerto Rico, Micronesia, and Alaska.
The Coastal Emergency Risks Assessment (CERA) visualization tool provides ESTOFS results on its interactive visualization website (https://cera.coastalrisk.live) once daily, including global water level heights and wind speed results. The newly added ESTOFS water level stations combine predicted forecast water levels from the model with observed water levels from the NOAA Tide & Currents service and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Sea Level Station Monitoring Facility.
In addition to this new feature, we made major updates to all water level stations along the US coast, including services from NOAA, USGS, and the USACE.
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.
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.