Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Document Type



There are few tools currently available to emergency managers to assist in making decisions about whether to evacuate, shelter locally, or shelter-in-place, and none of these tools explicitly consider risk to life safety. A methodology was developed to provide risk-based guidance for evacuation versus sheltering decision making. The hurricane hazards considered in the developed methodology are high winds, storm surge flooding and waves, and rainfall flooding. Vulnerability of buildings to these hazards and the associated risks to life safety are then determined. These results are compared to the hazards and risks associated with evacuation, particularly for medical special needs populations where evacuations themselves create significant life safety issues. Novel approaches to assessing and applying hurricane track and intensity forecast errors were developed and incorporated into the hazard assessment methodology. The decision support tools created here are applicable as planning tools as well as response to a particular hurricane approaching landfall. Examples of the developed method are provided for hurricanes making landfall along the Northern Gulf of Mexico coast.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Marc Levitan