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Transition of the Coastal and Estuarine Storm Tide Model to an Operational Storm Surge Forecast Model: A Case Study of the Florida Coast

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  • 1 Department of Earth and Environment, and International Hurricane Research Center, Florida International University, Miami, Florida
  • | 2 International Hurricane Research Center, Florida International University, Miami, Florida
  • | 3 NOAA/National Weather Service/National Centers for Environmental Prediction/National Hurricane Center, Miami, Florida
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Abstract

The operational forecast demands and constraints of the National Hurricane Center require that a storm surge model in research mode be tested against a benchmark model such as Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH) for accuracy, computation time, and numerical stability before the model is used for operational forecasts. Additionally, the simulated results must be in a geographic information system format to facilitate the usage of computed storm surge for various applications. This paper presents results from a demonstration project to explore the pathway for the transition of the Coastal and Estuarine Storm Tide (CEST) model to an operational forecast model by testing CEST over SLOSH basins in Florida. The performance and stability of CEST were examined by conducting simulations for Hurricane Andrew (1992) and more than 100 000 synthetic hurricanes for nine SLOSH basins covering the Florida coast and Lake Okeechobee. The results show that CEST produces peak surge heights similar to those from SLOSH. Additionally, CEST has proven to be numerically stable against all synthetic hurricanes and the computation time of CEST is comparable to that of SLOSH. Therefore, CEST has the potential to be used for operational forecasts of storm surge. The potential of producing more detailed real-time surge inundation forecasts was also investigated through the simulations of Andrew's surge on various grids with different cell sizes. The results indicate that CEST can produce 48-h forecasts using a single processor in about 40 min over a grid generated by reducing the cell edge size of the SLOSH grid by 4 times.

Corresponding author address: Keqi Zhang, Dept. of Earth and Environment, Florida International University, 11200 SW 8th St., Miami, FL 33199. E-mail: zhangk@fiu.edu

Abstract

The operational forecast demands and constraints of the National Hurricane Center require that a storm surge model in research mode be tested against a benchmark model such as Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH) for accuracy, computation time, and numerical stability before the model is used for operational forecasts. Additionally, the simulated results must be in a geographic information system format to facilitate the usage of computed storm surge for various applications. This paper presents results from a demonstration project to explore the pathway for the transition of the Coastal and Estuarine Storm Tide (CEST) model to an operational forecast model by testing CEST over SLOSH basins in Florida. The performance and stability of CEST were examined by conducting simulations for Hurricane Andrew (1992) and more than 100 000 synthetic hurricanes for nine SLOSH basins covering the Florida coast and Lake Okeechobee. The results show that CEST produces peak surge heights similar to those from SLOSH. Additionally, CEST has proven to be numerically stable against all synthetic hurricanes and the computation time of CEST is comparable to that of SLOSH. Therefore, CEST has the potential to be used for operational forecasts of storm surge. The potential of producing more detailed real-time surge inundation forecasts was also investigated through the simulations of Andrew's surge on various grids with different cell sizes. The results indicate that CEST can produce 48-h forecasts using a single processor in about 40 min over a grid generated by reducing the cell edge size of the SLOSH grid by 4 times.

Corresponding author address: Keqi Zhang, Dept. of Earth and Environment, Florida International University, 11200 SW 8th St., Miami, FL 33199. E-mail: zhangk@fiu.edu
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