Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2024-135
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2024-135
03 Jun 2024
 | 03 Jun 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Influence of Storm Type on Compound Flood Hazard of a Mid-Latitude Coastal-Urban Environment

Ziyu Chen, Philip Orton, James Booth, Thomas Wahl, Arthur DeGaetano, Joel Kaatz, and Radley Horton

Abstract. A common feature within coastal cities is small, urbanized watersheds where the time of concentration is short, leading to vulnerability to flash flooding during coastal storms that can also cause storm surge. While many recent studies have provided evidence of dependency in these two flood drivers for many coastal areas worldwide, few studies have investigated their co-occurrence locally in detail, nor the storm types that are involved. Here we present a bivariate statistical analysis framework with historical rainfall and storm surge and tropical cyclone (TC) and extratropical cyclone (ETC) track data, using New York City (NYC) as a midlatitude demonstration site where these storm types play different roles. In contrast to prior studies that focused on daily or longer durations of rain, we apply hourly data and study simultaneous drivers and lags between them. We quantify characteristics of compound flood drivers including their dependency, magnitude, lag time and joint return periods, separately for TCs, ETCs, non-cyclone associated events, and merged data from all events. We find TCs have markedly different driver characteristics from other storm types and dominate the joint probabilities of the most extreme rain-surge compound events, even though they occur much less frequently. ETCs are the predominant source of more frequent, moderate compound events. The hourly data also reveal subtle but important spatial differences in lag times between the joint flood drivers. For Manhattan and southern shores of NYC during top-ranked TC rain events, rain intensity has a strong negative correlation with lag time to peak surge, promoting pluvial-coastal compound flooding. However, for the Bronx River in northern NYC, fluvial-coastal compounding is favoured due to a 2–6 hour lag from the time of peak rain to peak surge.

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Ziyu Chen, Philip Orton, James Booth, Thomas Wahl, Arthur DeGaetano, Joel Kaatz, and Radley Horton

Status: open (until 29 Jul 2024)

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Ziyu Chen, Philip Orton, James Booth, Thomas Wahl, Arthur DeGaetano, Joel Kaatz, and Radley Horton
Ziyu Chen, Philip Orton, James Booth, Thomas Wahl, Arthur DeGaetano, Joel Kaatz, and Radley Horton

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Short summary
Urban flooding can be driven by rain and storm surge or the combination of the two, which is called compound flooding. In this study we analyzed hourly historical rain and surge data for New York City to provide a more detailed statistical analysis than prior studies of this topic. The analyses reveal that tropical cyclones (e.g. hurricanes) have potential for causing more extreme compound floods than other storms, while extratropical cyclones cause more frequent, lesser compound events.