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Lessons from Hurricane Ike

Edited by Philip B. Bedient

Publication Year: 2012

If Hurricane Ike had made landfall just fifty miles down the Texas coast, the devastation and death caused by what was already one of the most destructive hurricanes in US history would have quadrupled. Ike made everyone realize just how exposed and vulnerable the Houston-Galveston area is in the face of a major storm. What is done to address this vulnerability will shape the economic, social, and environmental landscape of the region for decades to come. In Lessons from Hurricane Ike, Philip Bedient and the research team at the Severe Storm Prediction, Education, and Evacuation from Disasters (SSPEED) Center at Rice University provide an overview of some of the research being done in the Houston-Galveston region in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. The center was formed shortly after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Its research examines everything from surge and inland flooding to bridge infrastructure. Lessons from Hurricane Ike gathers the work of some of the premier researchers in the fields of hurricane prediction and impact, summarizing it in accessible language accompanied by abundant illustrations—not just graphs and charts, but dramatic photos and informative maps. Orienting readers to the history and basic meteorology of severe storms along the coast, the book then revisits the impact of Hurricane Ike and discusses what scientists and engineers are studying as they look at flooding, storm surges, communications, emergency response, evacuation planning, transportation issues, coastal resiliency, and the future sustainability of the nation’s fourth largest metropolitan area.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Preface

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pp. vii-viii

As a young boy growing up on the west coast of Florida, I was always impressed by the sheer power of Mother Nature, especially the intense severe storms and major hurricanes that would come along every summer to interrupt our lives. I went on to obtain degrees in physics and...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-

The authors would like to acknowledge the Houston Endowment and the Texas Medical Center for their generous support of the SSPEED Center as it relates to severe storm prediction and impacts along the Gulf Coast. This book could not have been completed without a group of very devoted associates. We would like...

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Ch1: An Introduction to Gulf Coast Severe Storms and Hurricanes

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pp. 1-15

As populations move toward coastal regions in ever increasing numbers, the impacts and associated costs of severe storms on coastal counties increase exponentially. A severe storm is usually considered to be a tropical storm or hurricane, but may also be a severely damaging hail storm, tornado or thunderstorm...

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Ch2: Hurricane Ike

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pp. 16-

The arrival of Hurricane Ike on the Texas coast on September 13, 2008 marked the beginning of a re-evaluation of Gulf Coast hurricanes, both in terms of their perceived potential damage and in the ways that communities choose to protect themselves. Ike was the most destructive storm to make landfall on the Texas...

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Ch3: A Brief Introduction to the Meteorology of Tropical Cyclones

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pp. 28-37

Every year on average of 60–100 tropical waves emerge off the west coast of Africa and traverse the tropical Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. Approximately 10–20 of these will develop into tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Basin. Tropical waves originating from Africa...

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Ch4: Flood Prediction and Flood Warning Systems

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pp. 38-49

Floods and flash floods are among the leading causes of weather related deaths in the United States, resulting in 136 deaths per year and over $4.0 billion in property damage. With heavy rains and the continual threat of severe storms, the Gulf Coast region is particularly susceptible to flooding. Far from a declining hazard, population growth has caused...

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Ch5: Predicting Storm Surge

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pp. 50-65

Every hurricane has the potential to inflict damage in one or all of the following ways: wind, rainfall, tornadoes, and surge. Of these, storm surge has been responsible for some of the most devastating hurricane-related damage. Storm surge occurs when sea levels rise in the face of low barometric pressure. The resulting mass of water is pushed onto shore by strong hurricane winds as described in...

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Ch6: Using Social Vulnerability Mapping to Enhance Coastal Community Resiliency in Texas

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pp. 66-81

Every hurricane has the potential to inflict damage in one or all of the following ways: wind, rainfall, tornadoes, and surge. Of these, storm surge has been responsible for some of the most devastating hurricane-related damage. Storm surge occurs when sea levels rise in the face of low barometric pressure. The resulting mass of water is pushed onto shore by strong hurricane winds as described in...

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Ch7: Emergency Management and the Public

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pp. 82-93

Over the past 100 years, the speed of communication has increased dramatically, playing a vital role in disaster preparedness, response and recovery. Today, electronic communication is critical to everyday life and the average person is accustomed to having every form of information at their fingertips. In contrast, during the Galveston Hurricane of 1900...

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Ch8: Emergency Evacuation and Transportation Planning

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pp. 94-105

On June 1 each year, Gulf Coast residents begin watching storm systems cross the Caribbean and listen as meteorologists predict approaching tropical cyclones. Given the forecast of the strength and point of landfall of a storm, emergency management officials determine the appropriate response and implement emergency procedures. In most cases,...

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Ch9: Lessons in Bridge Infrastructure Vulnerability

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pp. 106-121

The performance of regional bridge infrastructure has a significant impact on the safety, effectiveness, and efficiency of the transportation system following hurricane events, which is crucial to facilitating post-event response and recovery activities (Fig. 9.1). Hurricane Ike caused notable damage to the infrastructure of the Houston/ Galveston Area...

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Ch10: Hurricane Impacts on Critical Infrastructures

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pp. 122-137

Hurricanes have far-reaching impacts at numerous levels on the natural and built landscape. The effects are felt for years and the recovery process can be long and slow depending on the nature of the event. This chapter focuses on the impacts of hurricanes on critical infrastructure along the Texas Gulf Coast, specifically on the impact of Hurricane Ike on the Houston...

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Ch11: Land-Use Change and Increased Vulnerability

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pp. 138-155

With over 50 percent of the US population residing in coastal areas, local decision makers are finding it increasingly difficult to protect critical natural resources, and facilitate the development of hazard-resilient communities. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the Texas coast. Rapid urban and suburban development...

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Ch12: Steps to the Future

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pp. 156-175

Hurricane Ike was not a worst case storm for our region. Ike came ashore to the east of metropolitan Houston and caused most of its damage through surge flooding to Galveston Island, the Bolivar Peninsula, and areas immediately adjacent to Galveston Bay, with more widespread wind damage over the Houston...

Glossary

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pp. 177-182

Sources

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pp. 183-188

Contributors

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pp. 189-190

Index

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pp. 191-194

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781603447362
E-ISBN-10: 1603447369
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603445887
Print-ISBN-10: 1603445889

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 60 color photos. 48 maps. 13 figs. 17 tables. Bib. Index.
Publication Year: 2012

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Hurricane Ike, 2008.
  • Hurricanes -- Texas -- Gulf Coast.
  • Hurricane protection -- Texas -- Gulf Coast.
  • Emergency management -- Texas -- Gulf Coast.
  • Storm surges -- Texas -- Gulf Coast.
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