Interagency data products and research inform hurricane response and recovery in the Carolinas
PostedSep 4, 2020
Observations, Extreme Events
Hurricane Florence struck the Carolinas on September 14, 2018, causing widespread flooding and damage. In the aftermath of the storm, NASA deployed airborne radar to map floodwaters threatening the region, supplying federal, state, and local agencies with information critical to disaster response efforts.
Airborne radar is able to “see” through cloud cover to image the ground below during day and night and can map flooding occurring under vegetation, which is especially valuable in heavily vegetated areas such as the Carolinas. Scientists rapidly mapped the extent and depth of flooding, helping local authorities identify potential damage to and blockage of infrastructure such as roadways and levees and prioritize recovery efforts as flood waters receded.
NASA worked closely with and leveraged the expertise of state, federal, and other partners to provide analysis of satellite imagery, data products, and other decision-support aids, including the states of North Carolina and South Carolina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Federal Aviation Administration, NOAA, the U.S. National Guard, USDA-Forest Service, the University of South Carolina, and the University of Florida.
Following the immediate focus on response and recovery, satellite and airborne observations are helping scientists update streamflow and flood models. In particular, measurements of flood level change will assist NOAA and NASA hydrologists in updating flood prediction models.