Casamassina, Nicole Ashley (2019-05). Estimating Losses from Hurricane Harvey Using FEMA's HAZUS-MH Model. Master's Thesis.
Hurricane Harvey was one of the most destructive and costliest hurricanes to ever make landfall on the Texas coast and one of the many tropical cyclones that impacted the United States during the 2017 North Atlantic Hurricane Season. In recent years, emergency managers and researchers have been using hurricane risk and vulnerability analyses developed using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to make informed decisions on different aspects of community and regional preparedness when a tropical cyclone is forecasted to impact an area. Though there are many ways to quantify risk and vulnerability, this project uses the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Hazards-US Multi-Hazards (HAZUS-MH) GIS extension to estimate and illustrate the physical, economic, and social losses associated with tropical cyclone impacts along the Texas coast, specifically in the Greater Houston Region. There are numerous ways to quantify risks associated with tropical cyclones using GIS, most of which focus on one of the three hazards involved in hurricane impact: extreme winds, heavy rainfall, and storm surge. This project addresses this shortcoming by focusing on all three hazards and modelling the physical, economic, and social losses in locations in the Greater Houston Region that were caused by Hurricane Harvey. Heavy rainfall produced the most losses, while storm surge affected the southern-most areas of the Texas coast. Wind damage from Hurricane Harvey was insignificant in comparison to the probabilistic scenarios, with losses estimated to be in the thousands of dollars, instead of in the millions or billions of dollars. The results of this study are compared to each other to see if the most vulnerable areas of the Greater Houston Region were largely affected by Hurricane Harvey.