Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Document Type



Although hydrodynamic models are used extensively to quantify the physical hazard of hurricane storm surge, the connection between the physical hazard and its effects on the built environment has not been well addressed. The focus of this dissertation research is the improvement of our understanding of the interaction of hurricane storm surge with the built environment. This is accomplished through proposed methodologies to describe, assess and model residential building damage from hurricane storm surge. Current methods to describe damage from hurricane events rely on the initiating mechanism. To describe hurricane damage to residential buildings, a combined wind and flood damage scale is developed that categorizes hurricane damage on a loss-consistent basis, regardless of the primary damage mechanism. The proposed Wind and Flood (WF) Damage Scale incorporates existing damage and loss assessment methodologies for wind and flood events and describes damage using a seven-category discrete scale. Assessment of hurricane damage has traditionally been conducted through field reconnaissance deployments where damage information is captured and cataloged. The increasing availability of high resolution satellite and aerial imagery in the last few years has led to damage assessments that rely on remotely sensed information. Existing remote sensing damage assessment methodologies are reviewed for high velocity flood events at the regional, neighborhood and per-building levels. The suitability of using remote sensing in assessing residential building damage from hurricane storm surge at the neighborhood and per-building levels is investigated using visual analysis of damage indicators. Existing models for flood damage in the United States generally quantify the economic loss that results from flooding as a function of depth, rather than assessing a level of physical damage. To serve as a first work in this area, a framework for the development of an analytical damage model for residential structures is presented. Input conditions are provided by existing hydrodynamic storm surge models and building performance is determined through a comparison of physical hazard and building resistance parameters in a geospatial computational environment. The proposed damage model consists of a two-tier framework, where overall structural response and the performance of specific components are evaluated.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Marc Levitan