Factors influencing inland property damage from Gulf of Mexico tropical cyclones

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University of Alabama Libraries

Landfalling tropical cyclones (TC) in the USA cost 5-10 billion dollars annually. Tropical cyclone related losses can be influenced by the characteristics of a tropical cyclone itself as well as the levels of social vulnerability of the population in the region impacted. Coastal areas generally receive the greatest economic losses; however, research suggests that losses in the inland zone could occasionally be higher than the coastal zone due to excessive inland flooding, wind, and tornadoes. In this research, these physical storm characteristics (wind, tornadoes, rain) from decaying tropical cyclones in inland counties and county social vulnerability (SOV percentile scores) were used to predict property damage and economic impact. Results from the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama tri-state region are inconsistent and suggest some counter-intuitive relationships with previously published research. Hurricane Katrina dominated the results for this region, and this appears to have skewed the results. Hypothetical scenarios were created to determine what would happen if a Katrina type storm tracked over major inland metropolitan areas in the Southeastern United States. Hypothetical results show that property damage would be more in the densely populated areas for a storm like Hurricane Katrina.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation