- ©2000. AAPG/DEG
This article describes the development of a hurricane wind field model and a damage model that can be used to assess the expected damage to residential structures, in terms of claims and insured losses, when a hurricane is approaching the coast of South Carolina. Reconnaissance aircraft measurements are used to develop a gradient-level wind field that is then moved along the projected track of the hurricane. By using gradient-to-surface conversion factors and decay rates based on observations in recent hurricanes, mean wind speeds are determined at 10-min intervals at the centroid of each zip code. Damage models relating the number of claims and amount of losses to the maximum mean surface wind speed in a zip code are developed using loss data from Hurricanes Hugo and Andrew. The application of the assessment procedure is demonstrated using Hurricane Hugo. Specifically, the procedure is used to predict the expected number of claims and the expected amount of losses likely to be experienced by a particular insurance company if a storm the size and strength of Hugo were to follow the actual path of the hurricane, a track deviating 5° to the left, and a track deviating 5° to the right. Owing to the location and distribution of population centers in the state, small deviations in the track of the hurricane were shown to produce significant changes in the number of claims and the amount of the total insured losses.
Dr. Huang is a Senior Engineer with Applied Research Associates (ARA) in Raleigh, North Carolina. Prior to joining ARA in 1999, he was a graduate research assistant in the Department of Civil Engineering at Clemson University. He graduated with his Bachelor's degree from Tongji University (Shanghai, China) in 1993, his Master's degree from Tsinghua University (Beijing, China) in 1996, and his Ph.D. from Clemson University in 1999. His research interests are in the areas of natural hazard analysis, structural reliability, and GIS.
Dr. Rosowsky is Associate Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator in the Department of Civil Engineering at Clemson University. He completed his undergraduate and Master's degrees at Tufts University and his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University. Sincer joining the faculty at Clemson in 1994, his teaching and research activities have been in the areas of probability-based design, reliability and risk analysis, modeling of structural and environmental loads, and design for natural hazards.
Dr. Sparks is a Professor of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at Clemson University. He was born and educated in England, receiving his B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Bristol in 1968 and his Ph.D. from the University of London in 1974. He moved to the United States in 1977 and has been a member of the faculty at Clemson since 1982. His current major research interests are the measurement and prediction of wind fields in hurricanes and the quantification of the damage and disruption they cause.