Lessons Learned Regarding the Use of Spatial Data and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) During Hurricane Floyd   [open pdf - 7MB]

Hurricane Floyd, which made landfall along the North Carolina coast on September 15, 1999, was a devastating and tragic event. The massive size and strength of the storm, combined with significant rainfall, caused federal, state, and local emergency management personnel along the entire east coast of the United States to prepare, respond, and, if necessary, recover from the effects of Hurricane Floyd. The response and recovery activities associated with the storm highlight how advances in technology have enhanced the ability to deal with disasters. The hurricane response efforts at the federal, state, and local levels for Hurricane Floyd were the first to rely heavily on spatial data and geographic information systems (GIS) technology. Compared to previous hurricanes, many of these response and recovery efforts were carried out more effectively and efficiently through the use of these tools. Many of the preparedness activities - such as forecasting potential flood inundation areas and disseminating forecasts - hinged on GIS and the use of Internet mapping applications. GIS was also used to monitor and track real-time road conditions and damage locations to ensure that responders could quickly be routed to areas in most need of assistance. During the long-term recovery phase, satellite imagery was combined with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Flood Insurance Program Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps and analyzed with GIS to assist with the largest Hazard Mitigation Buyout Program in U.S. history. The "lessons learned" from these and many other successful uses of spatial data and GIS during Floyd are summarized in this report.

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NOAA Coastal Service Center: http://www.csc.noaa.gov/
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