Vulnerability of an industrial corridor in Texas to storm surge

Abstract

A conceptual framework for evaluating the vulnerability of industrialized coastal regions to storm surge was developed and implemented to evaluate the vulnerability of the Houston Ship Channel Industrial Corridor (HSC-IC) in Texas to storm surge. In the study, Hurricane Ike scenarios were modeled with SWAN + ADCIRC that involved changing the landfall location of the hurricane along the coast and incorporating the effect of increased wind speed. The storm surge data from the various landfall scenarios were cross-linked with geospatial and environmental data associated with facilities within the industrial region. This work uniquely combines the potential releases from storage tanks, records of past historical releases, and risk management planning to characterize environmental vulnerabilities using storage information and geospatial data. The resulting framework for vulnerability implemented within the HSC-IC found a relationship between storm surge and the total area inundated at a given storm surge level and between storm surge and the total number of storage tanks. Using the developed framework, it was possible to combine releases from storage tanks, records of past historical releases, and risk management planning to characterize environmental vulnerabilities on a facility by facility basis and for the modeled surge levels.

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Acknowledgments

Support for this research from the Houston Endowment, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the US EPA, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) GK-12 Program Award #0840889 is gratefully acknowledged. Maria Modelska is acknowledged for her dedicated work to the HVGDB, and Mary Tapscott is acknowledged for her work in collecting RMP data.

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Correspondence to Hanadi S. Rifai.

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Burleson, D.W., Rifai, H.S., Proft, J.K. et al. Vulnerability of an industrial corridor in Texas to storm surge. Nat Hazards 77, 1183–1203 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-015-1652-7

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Keywords

  • GIS
  • Hurricane
  • Risk management
  • Environmental impact