Observations on the Behavior of Storm Surge, Waves and Flooding on the Mississippi Coast, Hurricane Katrina, 2005: A Protocol Study   [open pdf - 45MB]

"The purpose of this protocol study was to gather observations from local people on the Mississippi Coast regarding the way Hurricane Katrina's surge came ashore on August 29, 2005. This approach of collecting verbal accounts and real-time photography, if developed into an established protocol, could be used to inform modelers and researchers, and possibly increase accuracy of surge, wave and flood models and maps. Local information may be particularly useful where a computer model may not perform accurately because of the inherent variability of a hurricane and because of complex bathymetric and topographic areas along the path of the hurricane. For the most part, Western science in the past decades has not recognized the local knowledge of indigenous and long-time residents as providing valid contributions to the realm of science. Most often this local source of information has been ignored or dismissed because it is acquired in ways other than quantitative cause-and-effect hypothesis-testing. Now, however, these peoples' stories of natural phenomena on the land and water are being sought out as a source of important information. Most commonly indigenous knowledge is being gathered and reported by the scientific community regarding wildlife populations and behavior. In the arctic, knowledge held by indigenous people, particularly elders and hunters, is an important source of information in the study of climate change, especially in relation to ice and snow behavior and wind and sea conditions over time."

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Federal Emergency Management Agency: http://www.fema.gov/
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