Federal Agency Hazard Cooperation and Enhancement of the South Carolina Storm-Tide Network in High-Density Urban Areas
Miller, Andrew Dabney
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Multiple federal agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Geological Survey are involved with coastal flood monitoring, data collection, computer modeling, and disaster mitigation. These agencies depend on storm data collected by <p><i>in-situ</i></p> instrumentation combined with sophisticated modeling programs to analyze flood risk to property and human health in coastal zones. Currently in South Carolina, coastal flood data are collected by a network of storm-tide monitors installed on built structures that log data that can be sent to online databases for analysis of near-term conditions and long-term flood potential in computer models. In addition, each federal agency follows a specific protocol for data collection and hazard mitigation during and after a hurricane, frequently overlapping with other agency objectives. This paper employs a two-pronged approach to illustrate federal agencies' efforts in storm-tide data collection and analysis by federal agencies to improve accurate assessment of flood risks in coastal areas. First, a profile of the specific goals of relevant federal agencies during and after a storm flood-tide event illustrates the dynamic collaboration among agencies while highlighting modern tools used for data collection and hazard analysis in federal agency hurricane research. This synopsis details the statutory mandates that drive agency actions during hurricanes and illustrates the complexity of multi-agency collaboration at all government levels. Second, the paper describes the current storm-tide monitoring network in coastal South Carolina with a focus on the methods behind the function and continuing in-state expansion of the network. Lastly, the paper outlines the development of a regional network protocol based on South Carolina's storm-tide network model and the resulting large-scale network proof-of-concept project in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.