Disaster Impact Models


Through the use of geospatial tools, USACE provides estimates of possible debris volumes, needs for water and ice commodities, number of people and households likely within hurricane force winds, and possible temporary roofing and temporary housing needs starting about three days prior to a forecasted hurricane landfall. Model estimates are developed and posted on ENGLink public. Timing of the release of model results is dependent on the National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Center forecast times, the speed of a storm and estimated time of landfall. The models are applicable for East Coast and Gulf Coast in the United States, Caribbean Islands and Pacific Islands.

These model results provide managers and responders with a first look at the potential severity of a storm of interest and are intended to set the “scale and scope” of the storm event. The models are still general in nature due the uncertainties possible for any storm at this stage. Starting about two days before landfall, mission models for debris, ice and water commodities, temporary roofing and temporary housing are created as soon as possible following the NHC forecast and throughout the day on NHC release times, as warranted by storm forecasts. If no significant change in the storm forecast is made – track, intensity, forward speed, among other considerations – new models will not be produced if the result would be identical to the last forecast. For Pacific Ocean storms, the model execution times will follow CPHC schedules. Post-landfall models will be created as the storms progress inland or out to sea. The final mission models for an event will be created for one to two days after landfall.


Hazus is a nationally applicable standardized methodology that contains models for estimating potential losses from earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes. Hazus uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to estimate physical, economic, and social impacts of disasters. It graphically illustrates the limits of identified high-risk locations due to earthquake, hurricane, and floods. Users can then visualize the spatial relationships between populations and other more permanently fixed geographic assets or resources for the specific hazard being modeled, a crucial function in the pre-disaster planning process.

Hazus is used for mitigation and recovery as well as preparedness and response. Government planners, GIS specialists, and emergency managers use Hazus to determine losses and the most beneficial mitigation approaches to take to minimize them. Hazus can be used in the assessment step in the mitigation planning process, which is the foundation for a community's long-term strategy to reduce disaster losses and break the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. Being ready will aid in recovery after a natural disaster. Find out more.