Natural Hazards

, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 519–536 | Cite as

Hurricane Katrina storm surge delineation: implications for future storm surge forecasts and warnings

  • Ginni Melton
  • Melanie Gall
  • Jerry T. Mitchell
  • Susan L. CutterEmail author
Original Paper


The storm surge in coastal Mississippi caused by Hurricane Katrina was unprecedented in the region. The height and geographic extent of the storm surge came as a surprise to many and exceeded pre-impact surge scenarios based on SLOSH models that were the basis for emergency preparedness and local land use decision-making. This paper explores the spatial accuracy of three interpolated storm surge surfaces derived from post-event reconnaissance data by comparing the interpolation results to a specific SLOSH run. The findings are used to suggest improvements in the calibration of existing pre-event storm surge models such as SLOSH. Finally, the paper provides some suggestions on an optimal surge forecast map that could enhance the communication of storm surge risks to the public.


Storm surge mapping Hurricane Katrina Coastal Mississippi 



All figures and photos are by the Hazards Research and Vulnerability Institute, University of South Carolina. Funding for the initial fieldwork was provided by the University of South Carolina Office of Research and Health Sciences, under the Coastal Resiliency Information Systems Initiative for the Southeast (CRISIS). Support for the subsequent analysis was from the US Department of Homeland Security through the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), grant number N001140510629.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ginni Melton
    • 1
  • Melanie Gall
    • 1
  • Jerry T. Mitchell
    • 1
  • Susan L. Cutter
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.University of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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