STORM SIZE, INTENSITY, KEY TO EVALUATING POTENTIAL HURRICANE DAMAGE
11, 2007 — NOAA hurricane researchers
investigating the destructive potential of land-falling hurricanes indicated
that the overall size of the storm, as well as the area reached by its
winds should be considered when assessing its possible damage. (Click
NOAA image for larger view of the destruction from Hurricane Katrina
in Biloxi, Miss. Click
here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)
“By incorporating both size and intensity, I see this system as a better way to allow people to assess the true potential impact of an approaching storm,” Powell said. “If people knew that Katrina had a much higher damage potential than Camille, the Mississippi residents who chose to stay might have evacuated.”
and his co-author, Timothy Reinhold, a scientist and engineer with the
Institute for Business & Home Safety, acknowledge that people who
decide to leave or stay in response to a hurricane warning make decisions
based on perceived vulnerability. Past hurricane experience is one of
several influences on this perception.
To develop a scale that incorporates destructive potential due to storm surge and wind, Powell used kinetic energy calculations to classify small and large storms, ranging from Tropical Storm strength to Category 5 using data from NOAA’s H*Wind experimental product that effectively describes the variations in the size and shape of the wind field of a given storm. H*Wind is currently the best tool available to evaluate the extent of damaging winds based on all available observations.
will test-run the Hurricane Destructive Potential classification during
the 2007 hurricane season as part of NOAA’s H*Wind experimental
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