Impacts of Hurricane Dorian on the Bahamas: field observations of hazard intensity and performance of the built environment

Kijewski-Correa, Tracy, Roueche, David, Kennedy, Andrew, Allen, Doug, Marshall, Justin, Kaihatu, James, Wood, Richard L., Smith, Daniel J., Lester, Henry, Lochhead, Meredith, Copp, Andrew, McCarthy, Abbey, Prevatt, David O., and Robertson, Ian (2022) Impacts of Hurricane Dorian on the Bahamas: field observations of hazard intensity and performance of the built environment. Coastal Engineering Journal, 64 (1). pp. 3-23.

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Abstract

On September 1 2019, Hurricane Dorian made landfall in Elbow Cay in the Bahamas with sustained winds of 295 km/h and a central pressure of 910 mb, with subsequent landfalls in Marsh Harbour and Grand Bahama Island, where it stalled for two days. This paper presents field observations of Dorian’s coastal hazards and impacts on the built environment in these locales, collected by the Structural Extreme Events Reconnaissance (StEER) Network. Data were collected using a mixed methodological approach: (1) surveying high-water marks and inundation extent, including an approximately 8 m high water mark in Marsh Harbour, (2) conducting surface-level forensic assessments of damage to 358 structures, and (3) rapidly imaging 475 km of routes using street-level panoramas. Field observations are complemented by a debris field analysis using high-resolution satellite imagery. Observed performance reiterates the potential for well-confined, elevated construction to perform well under major hurricanes, but with the need to codify such practices through the addition of storm surge design provisions and an increase in the design wind speeds in the Bahamas Building Code. This study further demonstrates the value of robust reconnaissance infrastructure for capturing perishable data following hurricanes and making such data rapidly available using publicly accessible platforms.

Item ID: 70642
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1793-6292
Keywords: Bahamas, damage assessment, Dorian, Hurricane, storm surge, wind
Copyright Information: © 2021 Japan Society of Civil Engineers
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2022 00:25
Downloads: Total: 2
Last 12 Months: 1
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