Tuesday, May 31, 2011



Update June 2, 2011 - FEMA announces release of HAZUS-MH 2.0 ...

The 2.0 release includes many improvements to the usability and functionality of the software including, but not limited to:

A new coastal storm surge modeling capability integrating two industry standard models (SLOSH and SWAN), which now allows HAZUS to predict the physical and economic impacts of hurricane scenarios on coastal flood regions. In addition to estimating the separate impacts of coastal flooding and high winds, the coastal surge scenario methodology also estimates the combined economic losses to the general building stock in a manner that avoids double counting of flood and wind losses.

With HAZUS-MH 2.0, the CDMS tool has been integrated with HAZUS. CDMS will no longer be handled as a distinct product requiring users to obtain and install it separately. It will automatically be added when installing HAZUS, thus making it easier for users to take advantage of the tool’s data management capabilities. HAZUS-MH 2.0 is now compatible with ArcGIS 10.0 Service Pack 1. MORE INFO ...

Order the latest version of HAZUSs-MH 2.0 free-of-charge on-line by visiting the FEMA Map Service Center (MSC) Web Store at http://msc.fema.gov.

Previously ...

The following was taken from a recent email distributed from the Florida HAZUS User Group ...

"For those that couldn't be on some of the other State calls lately (namely NC and SC calls), more info about HAZUS 2.0 has been "released". Below are notes from the SC calls. Thanks to ChrisZ from the FLHUG for the info.

April 28, 2011 – South Carolina HAZUS User Group Call with HAZUS 2.0 Overview
Melissa Berry (SC HUG president) provided overview of national and South Carolina activities. Call today was recorded as a podcast (looking for a link?).

HAZUS 2.0 Overview
David Adler and Adam Campbell from ZAI presented major changes and updates to HAZUS:

Timeline: HAZUS 2.0 should be out by end of May (or early June if there’s a problem with last phase of testing). Can pre-order through the Map Service Center (may have to create an account if necessary).

3 Big Changes

1) Coastal Storm surge modeling which incorporates SLOSH and SWAN models. No real changes to the flood and hurricane (wind) modules but the function of the surge model will remove the duplication/overlap of damages from each of the models run nseparately. There’s a bit of limitation in the fact that this consequences consolidation is only performed for building, contents, and inventory (not other HAZUS outputs such as agriculture).

2) HAZUS 2.0 is compatible with ArcGIS 10, SP1. If you have Arc 9.3.1 only, you will still need to use MR5 for analysis.

3) Upgrading of the development environment. End users will not really notice this per se but the first major chunk of background work has been done to allow the backend technology to be upgraded with subsequent releases of the software.

Release Notes will have all the changes and bug fixes but here are other items of significance that were discussed:

- User Defined Facilities and Essential Facilities will no longer have their lat/lon entries truncated to three places. Will take the full digits provided by the user which will give more accurate location.

- CDMS can be thought of as the 4th module of the software now and runs natively in the HAZUS product as opposed to separate software distributed at the same time as a major release. There should be no impact to the functionality of the two state CDMS web portals (Florida and South Carolina).

- Flood shelter analysis has been optimized to run faster and work better with large data sets.

- Return periods in the flood module have been adjusted (previously 10, 50, 100, 200, and 500…now the 200 has been replaced by a 25yr so you have 10, 25, 50, 100, 500)

- There is now a utility to help with extracting HPR data. You now have the ability to extract certain tables and fields from HPRs. This and other utilities are located in “bin\flood\utils”.

- Tree coverage and terrain roughness have been updated based on new national land cover data

- Updates to the historical storms in the northeast have been updated."


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Virtual USA Implementation Tool asking for feedback ....

The Virtual USA Implementation Tool is a methodology for disaster management agencies to plan and implement a geospatial information-sharing capability in line with the "Virtual USA" model.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate launched the Virtual USA (vUSA) initiative to support this trend and promote interoperable information sharing among emergency response agencies.

vUSA weg site ...

The vUSA folks are asking for feedback ... and ask that those interested review the tool in depth and provide feedback on the following areas:

Web site’s ease of use
Effectiveness of content and resources
Video on the Overview page
Additional ways to improve overall product, if applicable

Please email all comments to vusa@dhs.gov by COB on Friday, May 27th (sorry for the late notice).


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Using Hazus to Assess Alternative Futures and Earthquake Scenarios for Haiti

New in the FEMA HAZUS Library ... Using the GIS-based methodology developed by Hansen and Bausch in 2006, a HAZUS Haiti study region was developed in the immediate weeks following the devastating January 12, 2010 earthquake. Before the earthquake, Haiti lacked adequate GIS datasets to support detailed loss estimation. But with the combined efforts of the GIS and earthquake research communities, Haiti rapidly became a data rich environment. Enhancement of the original methodology for Haiti included the development of grid sizes of 10 km, and 1 km that represent rural and urban environments. MORE INFO & to DOWNLOAD


The U.S Geological Survey has embarked on an effort to develop its next ten-year strategy in its natural hazards mission area and is collecting feedback in from the public ...

The USGS Science Strategy outlines the major societal issues that USGS science is poised to address. USGHS is looking forward to create specific strategies for each of those areas to expand and advance... MORE INFO


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hurricane Forecasts 2011

AccuWeather.com was the first out with a 2011 Hurricane Forecast ... MORE INFO

The Tropical Meteorology Project - Colorado State University has issued their 2011 forecast ... MORE INFO

Update May 19, 2011

The NOAA/NWS/NHC has now released their 2011 Atlantic outlook... MORE INFOLinkUpdate May 19, 2011


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Geospatial Intelligence Agency providing support to DHD/FEMA for ungoing Mississippi River floods

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is using its tools, systems and analysts to help assess potential impact of Mississippi River floods on bridges, roads and other critical infrastructure in the South. READ MORE

NGA Press Release...



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Interim Task Force Report on Resilience

The HSPI Preparedness, Response, and Resilience Task Force: Interim Task Force Report on Resilience has concluded that "The most effective way for our country to recover from catastrophic events, whether natural or manmade, is to develop resilience in our federal, state, and local governments, our businesses, and our families." READ MORE

Download Report (.pdf)


Monday, May 16, 2011

NLE 2011


NLE 2011, May 16-20, 2011, will simulate the catastrophic nature of a major earthquake in the central United States region of the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ). The year 2011 is the bicentennial anniversary of the 1811 New Madrid earthquake, for which the NMSZ is named. NLE 2011 will be the first NLE to simulate a natural hazard.

NLE 2011 activities will take place at command posts, emergency operation centers and other locations to include federal facilities in the Washington D.C. area and federal, regional, state, tribal, local and private sector facilities in the eight member states of the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC). The eight member states of CUSEC encompass four different FEMA regions: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee (FEMA Region IV); Illinois and Indiana (FEMA Region V); Arkansas (FEMA Region VI); and Missouri (FEMA Region VII). MORE INFO...

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Friday, May 13, 2011

2011 Storm Surge Report

The CoreLogic 2011 Storm Surge Report provides an analysis of the potential exposure to storm surge property damage in 10 major U.S. coastal areas and current values of the total residential properties exposed to each potential storm surge event.

The report addresses ten major US coastal metropolitan areas that are vulnerable to a total of hundreds of billions of dollars in property loss from hurricane related storm surges and flooding. The 2011 Storm Surge Report, examined the potential financial impact of storm surges on single-family residential structures (homes) major urban areas along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts in the US. READ MORE

DOWNLOAD the CoreLogic 2011 Storm Surge Report ...

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Friday, May 6, 2011

U.S. Economic Sensitivity to Weather Variability

A recent paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society reports that the U.S. economic output varies by up to $485 billion a year of 2008 gross domestic product—about 3.4%—owing to weather variability. The study identifies U.S. states more sensitive to weather variability and ranks the sectors by their degree of weather sensitivity. This work illustrates a valid approach to measuring the economic impact of weather variability, gives baseline information and methods for more detailed studies of the sensitivity of each sector to weather variability, and lays the groundwork for assessing the value of current or improved weather forecast information given the economic impacts of weather variability. REPORT