Galveston District Header Image

GALVESTON DISTRICT

Home
Home > Media > News Releases

Bookmark and Share Email Print

Posted 11/14/2018

Release no. 18-051


Contact
Lt. Col. Mark T. Williford
409-766-3005
Galveston.TX.PublicAffairs@usace.army.mil

GALVESTON, Texas (November 14, 2018) A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Coastal Texas Protection & Restoration Feasibility Study review verified the most advanced modeling and catastrophic storm surge events were included within the recent study.

“We used the most advanced storm modeling system to run storm surge forecasts by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), said the study's project manager, Dr. Kelly Burks-Copes.

A review by ERDC Engineers stated Category 5, and stronger, storms, which represent events estimated up to 100,000 to 1 million years, were modeled by a state-of-the art Coastal Storm Modeling Suite.

“We modeled surges up to 27 feet that allowed us to propose barrier designs for storms never before seen,” said Burks-Copes.

The ERDC review included a range of storm tracks and storm approaches that ensures the entire Texas coast, including Houston, is covered by storms that represent very frequently occurring low intensity storms, i.e. the one to ten year events, all the way to never recorded, but physically possible in the future.

The results of the modeling are available for public review at: https://www.swg.usace.army.mil/Business-With-Us/Planning-Environmental-Branch/Documents-for-Public-Review/. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District and the Engineer Research and Development Center’s Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory in 2016 began a comprehensive coastal storm surge and wave modeling study to assess the risk of the entire Texas coast to tropical cyclones.

As part of that study, a new climatology assessment of tropical cyclone events impacting the entire Texas coast, and parts of the western Louisiana coast, were made using the Joint Probability Method of Optimal Sampling (JPM-OS). 

This new storm hazard assessment, and JPM-OS protocol, resulted in the creation of 660 synthetic tropical cyclone events that span the entire range of storm properties, such as storm intensity, storm size, forward speed and angle of approach on top of the landfall locations along the entire Texas coast. 

The suite of storms ranged from very weak and small in size tropical storm events all the way to catastrophically strong and large in size to include Category 5 storms and beyond. 

The range of storm tracks and storm approaches ensures that the entire Texas coast, including Houston, is covered by storms that represent very frequently occurring low intensity storms, i.e. the one to ten year events, all the way to never recorded, but physically possible in the future, Category 5, and stronger, storms, which represent events estimated up to 100,000 to 1 million years.

As part of the proposed coastal storm protection system (so called Ike Dike) assessment, 102 of these 660 storms were selected to model the response of storm surge and waves to the presence of the system. 

These 102 storms were selected to span the probability space for the return period storms.  In other words the selected storms included storms that represent the worst possible tropical cyclone scenarios in the Houston area for storm surge and wave conditions.  An additional 68 storms have been added to further refine the storm surge and wave height estimates already well represented by the original 102 storms.

To learn more about the Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Feasibility Study, visit: http://coastalstudy.texas.gov/.

##