A Geospatial Framework to Estimate Depth of Scour under Buildings Due to Storm Surge in Coastal Areas



Borga, Mariamawit

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Hurricanes and tropical storms represent one of the major hazards in coastal communities. Storm surge generated by strong winds and low pressure from these systems have the potential to bring extensive flooding in coastal areas. In many cases, the damage caused by the storm surge may exceed the damage from the wind resulting in the total collapse of buildings. Therefore, in coastal areas, one of the sources for major structural damage could be due to scour, where the soil below the building that serves as the foundation is swept away by the movement of the water. The existing methodologies to forecast hurricane flood damage do not differentiate between the different damage mechanisms (e.g., inundation vs. scour). Currently, there are no tools available that predominantly focus on forecasting scour related damage for buildings. Such a tool could provide significant advantages for planning and/or preparing emergency responses. Therefore the focus of this study was to develop a methodology to predict possible scour depth due to hurricane storm surges using an automated ArcGIS tool that incorporates the expected hurricane conditions (flow depth, velocity, and flood duration), site-specific building information, and the associated soil types for the foundation. A case study from Monmouth County (NJ), where the scour damages from 2012 Hurricane Sandy were recorded after the storm, was used to evaluate the accuracy of the developed forecasting tool and to relate the scour depth to potential scour damage. The results indicate that the developed tool provides relatively consistent results with the field observations.



Scour depth, ArcGIS Framework, Storm surge, Building scour, Hurricane Sandy