Hurricanes and Coastal Hazards
The National Hurricane Center Web site offers much information about hurricanes and tropical cyclones.
This Web page on the National Hurricane Center's site features an archive of information related to past hurricane seasons and includes links to Hurricane Season Tropical Cyclone Reports that contain comprehensive information on individual storms, including synoptic history, meteorological statistics, casualties and damages, and the postanalysis best track.
In the spring of 1999, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Weather Service's Office of Meteorology created two hurricane awareness Web sites offering information on hurricane awareness activities around the country. The NOAA site, entitled "Hurricanes: The Greatest Storms on Earth," presents the latest hurricane news and extensive background information, as well as links to numerous sources of hurricane information, including local sites. The Office of Meteorology site provides several online preparedness guides in both Spanish and English, current watches and warnings, on-line tracking charts, and links to many of the national agencies dealing with hurricane preparedness, response, and recovery.
The Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) has launched this new web site to offer homeowners and businesses tips on hazards safety and planning. Currently, the site focuses on hurricane mitigation, although other hazards will be addressed in the future. The site now includes videos on structural mitigation measures, several print publications in both Spanish and English, as well as links to other resources on the web.
The "Hurricane Watch Net" is an organization of amateur radio and weather people who disseminate hurricane advisory information to marine interests, Caribbean Island nations, emergency operating centers, and others in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific as promulgated by the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida.
The USA Today "Hurricane Information Guide" offers a wealth of information - including the outlook for the coming season, warnings and advisories, graphics, satellite images, maps, USA Today stories about current and recent tropical storms, historical information, and other articles covering virtually all aspects of hurricanes - from meteorology to sociology. The site offers the latest storm information from various meteorological centers around the world and includes sections on the physical science of hurricanes, hurricane safety, hurricane terms, climate change and hurricanes, hurricane science and technology, as well as access to the newspaper's vast library on the science and technology used to predict the development and paths of hurricanes. Users can also use the site to submit questions to a hurricane expert.
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists, in partnership with NASA, have developed an extreme-storm hazards map. Created using data gathered by a high-tech, airplane-mounted laser, the map shows critical elevations of the south Atlantic coast that indicate relative vulnerabilities of the coast to storm surge and inundation by hurricanes and extreme storms. The data provided in the map should help local emergency managers and natural resource officials prepare for storms. The scientists have also developed a new scale that categorizes expected coastal change (erosion and accretion) that occurs during storms. The map and scale are now available on the Web site above. Similar maps are planned for the Gulf of Mexico and northeast U.S. coastlines.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has launched this Web page highlighting their diverse hurricane research. The page is a compilation of data from various satellites and computer models, and it explains why and how NASA investigates hurricanes.
The National Hurricane Survival Initiative is a public-private partnership that seeks to educate hurricane-vulnerable individuals through this new Web site, a 30-minute television special, and a series of television public service announcements.
Hurricane Strike!, an entertaining multimedia educational product, is now available in three versions (all at no charge) to meet the needs of students with hearing, motor, and visual impairments. The URL provides access to the Web versions, as well as instructions on how to order a master CD for those who want to publish and distribute free CD copies.
In 1998, when El Nino has spawned violent weather around the globe, and when many scientists anticipate continuing weather extremes, the national Sea Grant network created HazNet, a Web site devoted to coastal hazards awareness and mitigation. The HazNet site gathers information and resources from Sea Grant programs, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and other public- and private-sector sources to help people meet the challenges presented by such natural hazards as riverine flooding, storm surge, coastal erosion, seismic events, and hurricanes. The site includes consumer fact sheets; an example of a community hazard mitigation plan from Rhode Island; a report on changes in building codes and practices in South Florida since Hurricane Andrew; a bibliography of Sea Grant coastal hazards research; and an on-line hazards bulletin board and discussion group.
The U.S. Geological Survey offers this "Theme Page" on coastal hazards with links to numerous USGS Web resources on various coastal hazards.
National Assessment of Shoreline Change: Part 2, Historical Shoreline Changes and Associated Coastal Land Loss along the U.S. Southeast Atlantic Coast (2005)
A principal purpose of this U.S. Geological Survey(USGS) shoreline change research is to develop a repeatable surveying methodology so that shorelines for the continental United States and portions of Hawaii and Alaska can be periodically and systematically updated in an internally consistent manner. This report summarizes historical changes in the U.S. Southeast Atlantic shoreline, both accretion and erosion, but emphasizes the erosion hazard because it impacts natural resources and the economy. A data catalog and Internet Map Server that complement the report are also available. Available free online from the USGS.
The mission of the NOAA Coastal Services Center is to foster and sustain the environmental and economic well being of the nation's coast by linking people, information, and technology. One portion of the center's web site is entitled "Living on the Coast: Smart Growth Tools on the Internet," and one of those tools is the CSC's Community Vulnerability Assessment Methodology (CVAM). Provided on CD-ROM, this tool is designed to aid federal, state, and local coastal resource managers in conducting community- and state-level hazard risk and vulnerability assessments to mitigate potential damage. Having developed the methodology, the CSC is now in the process of creating accompanying training material and programs.
The CSC's new Vulnerability Assessment Techniques and Applications (VATA) web site at the third URL above is being developed to provide a central source of information for developers and users of risk and vulnerability assessment applications. The site provides assessment techniques and resources to assist communities in making sound decisions to protect lives and property, maintain economic stability, and preserve the environment. It will also house Vulnerability Assessment Techniques Workshop information, which the developers intend to supplement or even replace actually attending these workshops, which are being hosted by the Organization of American States (OAS) Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment (USDE) and the CSC. The workshops are intended to create networking opportunities and dialogue for exploring new ideas and potential partnerships in the application of vulnerability assessments.
In 2000, the Federal Emergency Management released a major study on coastal erosion hazards - Evaluation of Erosion Hazards - prepared for FEMA by The Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment. The study provides a comprehensive assessment of coastal erosion and its impact on people and property. According to the report, approximately 25% of homes and other structures within 500 feet of the U.S. coastline and the shorelines of the Great Lakes will fall victim to the effects of erosion within the next 60 years. For details and links to the Executive Summary and the full report, see either the FEMA or Heinz Center Web site listed above.
Spatial Trends in Coastal Socioeconomics
The primary objective of this Web site from NOAA's National Ocean Service, Spatial Trends in Coastal Socioeconomics, is to increase awareness and improve access for the coastal stewardship community to socioeconomic information in a timely fashion. The site includes information for all 50 states and provides a set of Web-based data analysis and display tools to facilitate data retrieval, mapping, analysis, assessments, and comparative studies and also offers query tools to retrieve data by individual or multiple counties or watersheds.