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Hydro- socio- meteoro- logy: Essential elements for flash flood mitigation and research Dr. Eve Gruntfest International Flash Flood Laboratory 11 th Annual.

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Presentation on theme: "Hydro- socio- meteoro- logy: Essential elements for flash flood mitigation and research Dr. Eve Gruntfest International Flash Flood Laboratory 11 th Annual."— Presentation transcript:

1 Hydro- socio- meteoro- logy: Essential elements for flash flood mitigation and research Dr. Eve Gruntfest International Flash Flood Laboratory 11 th Annual Lovell Distinguished Lecture October 19, 2009 San Marcos, TX

2 Background - applied geographer Social scientist in world of engineers and physical scientists Geography professor at University of Colorado Colorado Springs for 27 years Research on flash floods and warning systems International Flash Flood Laboratory

3 The Big Thompson Flood in Colorado 140 died July 31, 1976 Who lived? Who died? Studied the behaviors that night Career – “socio/hydro/ meteoro - logist” International Flash Flood Laboratory

4 Today's presentation – Four part mosaic International Flash Flood Laboratory Integrates academic, professional and governmental efforts to reduce the impacts of flash floods International Flash Flood Laboratory Jack Lee age 6-8 1st place 2009

5 Four parts International Flash Flood Laboratory 1.Examples of hydro-socio-meteor-ology at work Emphasis on social science and recent flash floods Programs and People in Action: WAS * IS, SSWIM, Isabelle Ruin Institutional collaborators from outside / inside Texas 2.Results from recent flash flood research: Warning Project, YouTube study 3.Necessity of hybrid approach 4.Looking ahead to our workshop and our work

6 water

7 Why WAS * IS? As an “add on social scientist” always a few people would say after a talk --- –I don’t know how, and… –I don’t know anyone else who does this kind of work” “I want to do work that integrates meteorology and societal impacts BUT… WAS*IS vision To change the weather enterprise by comprehensively and sustainably integrating social science into meteorological and hydrological research and practice International Flash Flood Laboratory

8 WAS*IS mission – building hydro-socio-metero logy capacity 1.Build an interdisciplinary community of practitioners, researchers and stakeholders — from the grassroots up — dedicated to the integration of meteorology and hydrology and social science 2.Provide opportunities to learn and examine ideas, methods, and examples related to integrated weather-society work- including flash floods International Flash Flood Laboratory Tools – qualitative methods, surveys, interviews Concepts – speaking the same language, problem definition Topics – intros to social sciences, vulnerability and resilience, roles of technology, communication and use of weather information

9 Social Science Woven Into Meteorology (SSWIM) The National Weather Center – Norman, OK Funded by University of Oklahoma and NOAA Collaborate with International Flash Flood Laboratory International Flash Flood Laboratory

10 SSWIM’s three goals 1. To weave social science into the activities of the National Weather Center and elsewhere – not an “add –on” 2. To earn a reputation as a center of social science research and practice in weather and climate work 3. To revolutionize the research to operations equation – so it’s no longer top-down and all partners play equal roles – decision-makers, forecasters, product designers and researchers International Flash Flood Laboratory

11 SSWIM’s objectives are innovative research and capacity building … by increasing the appreciation of the value of qualitative as well as quantitative approaches including archival, ethnographic, and participatory methods … through partnerships with public, private, and academic sectors, including students, practitioners, and policymakers across the spectrum of stakeholders International Flash Flood Laboratory

12 Social scientists use methods that are rigorous quantitative and qualitative ways to collect data and are appropriate to the discipline, research questions and study populations Interviews – protocols & questionnaires Structured Semi-structured Open interviews - i.e. stories Surveys – systematically administered to a defined sample Direct observations – researcher is embedded with group Participatory activities – researcher participates with group Focus groups – guided activities in group Text analysis – breakdown of verbal or written texts Others… International Flash Flood Laboratory

13 Laboratoire d'étude des Transferts en Hydrologie et Environnement Grenoble, France HYMeX Hydrologic cycle in Mediterranean Experiment High impact weather events and relation to climate change impacts in the Mediterranean region European and US project International Flash Flood Laboratory collaborators

14 International Flash Flood Laboratory International Flash Flood Laboratory collaborators - Director Konstantine P. Georgakakos University of California San Diego International Flash Flood Laboratory collaborators - Director Konstantine P. Georgakakos University of California San Diego Hydrologic Research Center working with the World Meteorological Organization Real-Time Data for Central America Flash Flood Threat Index

15 International Flash Flood Laboratory SHAVE Project – (Severe Hail Verification Experiment) National Severe Storms Laboratory – bringing in social science – social and physical verification National Weather Service Integrated Warning Team gatherings – Kansas City, Omaha 2009 International Flash Flood Laboratory collaborators Meteorologists News Media Hydrologists Emergency Managers Social Scientists

16 International Flash Flood Laboratory International Hydrometeorology Analysis and Forecasting Course 7-27 June 2008 Boulder, CO 21 days *****2 hours social science***** International Flash Flood Laboratory collaborators National Weather Service (international activities office) World Meteorological Organization NOAA FLASH FLOOD WORKSHOP 2006 March 13-17 San José, Costa Rica Presentations on line

17 US flash flood challenges Post-wildfire flash floods – California Collaborations between local governments, US Geological Survey, National Weather Service Debris flow warnings International Flash Flood Laboratory F. Orr LA Times 9/16 LA Times R. Gauthier 9/14R.Gauthier

18 International Flash Flood Laboratory Warnings – Do these maps help?

19 Mapped low water crossings in Austin, TX tm (are these making a difference?) tm Mapped low water crossings in Austin, TX tm (are these making a difference?) tm International Flash Flood Laboratory

20 Extreme Atlanta flooding September 24-26, 2009 >15 inches of rain in some places, problems with extreme rainfall, creeks cresting feet above historical record highs 10 deaths Calls to action - were they severe enough? Do they matter? International Flash Flood Laboratory

21 How do we address nuisance events vs catastrophic events? Height of the 1997 Fort Collins, CO flash flood International Flash Flood Laboratory

22 Redefining job to include social and physical sciences Change questions asked Who will be impacted? Are people awake/sleeping/ driving/coaching? What has happened up to this point? Have there already been fatalities? What are the TV stations saying? Have earlier storms been “missed”? Always brings stakeholders to meetings & attends THEIR meetings – school superintendents, highway patrol, hospital administrators WAS* ISer example - Daniel Nietfeld – National Weather Service Scientific Operations officer - Omaha International Flash Flood Laboratory

23 Extreme speed of watershed responses Extremely short lead -time for warnings WAS * IS er Dr. Isabelle Ruin– New time/space analysis hydro-socio-meteoro-logy International Flash Flood Laboratory

24 What social and natural factors account for spatio-temporal distribution and severity of storm dynamics, catchment size and land use? Determine more effective ways to collect incident data during flash floods Understand human risk perception and human behavior before, during, and after flash flood events Create and use innovative models to further understand the hydro-meteorological circumstances behind flash floods Determine forms of communication most effective in informing people about the imminent danger of flash floods Integrate the physical and social sciences using GIS Key research questions and tasks

25 Source of Photo: Daniel Pollak and Isabelle Ruin Summer 2009

26 Data and methods for Missouri study Data Used Rainfall Stage IV Radar-derived Hydrology Catchments and Streams Stream Gauges Flood Impacts NWS Flood Reports Media Low Water Crossings Auxiliary Spatial Data Political boundaries Cities, Urban areas, Elevation Roads Spatial and Temporal Analysis Geographic Information Systems (GIS)  A computer- based system for management, mapping, analysis, and visualization of geo-referenced data Integration of physical and social data from diverse sources Qualitative Analysis Expert Interviews Statistical Analysis How much rain International Flash Flood Laboratory

27 Quality of flood reports are inconsistent; variety of sources Many of the floods reports had missing data Many reports were thus deemed vague. Many of the locations on the map were not defined correctly Points had to be manually corrected Point 1moved 2km NW Point 2moved 1.2km ESE Point 3vague Point 4vague Point 5moved 2.3 km NNW Point 6moved 10 km SE Point 7moved 3.2 km NW Point 8moved 4.8 km NW Point 9moved.25 km E Point 10moved 9.6 km NW “Locations” of all 135 flood reports Database development Flood report data in Missouri

28 Losing job = known risk Driving through flood = unknown risk Warnings are received and believed – but people think they HAVE to GO New collaboration Mapping and observing driver behavior at low water crossings in Missouri Cameras Car counting International Flash Flood Laboratory

29 Organize systematic and standardized data collection Disasters Evolving Lessons Using Global Experience Focus on post-event field studies for floods to maximize interactions between social scientists, hydrologists and meteorologists New guidelines on post-event investigations for use by integrated teams of physical scientists, social scientists, and practitioners Learn from post-event investigations DELUGE Learn from post-event investigations DELUGE Build a common culture and common research questions Foster international and interdisciplinary collaborations FIELD Hydro-socio-meteoro-logists needed International Flash Flood Laboratory

30 VULNERABILITY FACTORSINDICATORS Socio demographic and economic attributes Demography, Land use, cohesion of social structures, land values Population density Building density Association density Age, Gender, Professions Psycho-socio-cultural factorsHazard knowledge Risk perception, press coverage Warning systems, Crisis and recovery process Lead-time, Spacial accuracy Emergency response quality Communication relevency Public policy and risk managementSystem of actors Decision making process Practices at different scales (individuals, meso-scale…) Travel patterns and mobility evolution and adaptation Infrastructures quality and accessibilityType of building, protection structures Space and time circumstancies of the event Time of the day / night Urban / rural area … … International Flash Flood Laboratory

31 Flood and High-Flow deaths 80% occurred in daylight 90% swimming, boating, or walking in high flows 2007 was Texas’ deadliest year Roy Sedwick People underestimate the power of moving water & overestimate the ability to survive Flash flood deaths 80% in the dark 90% under flash flood watch/warning People underestimate how fast a flash flood develops and overestimate ability to recognize in time to react Certified floodplain manager, Lower Colorado River Authority Sr. Floodplain Coordinator HYDRO-SOCIO-METERO-LOGIST

32 International Flash Flood Laboratory 2007 flood-related drownings by type of event, Texas (from Sedwick) Type of Event# of DeathsPercent Flash Flood4267% High Water-Related1828% River Flood35% Total63100%

33 International Flash Flood Laboratory Statistics – thanks to hard work (no easy database) -- 41% female, 59% male Age range: 2 – 85 years

34 International Flash Flood Laboratory Flood-related drownings by circumstances Texas (2007) (Sedwick) Circumstances# of DeathsPercent Vehicle3556% Walk/Play1321% Mobile Home46% Boating35% Swimming58% Rafting/Tubing23% Cave12% Total63100%

35 International Flash Flood Laboratory Circumstances of vehicle – related drownings by time of incident most people don't die – w h y? don't focus only on the dead Estimated TimeFrequencyPercent Midnight - 6am1131% 6am - noon3 9% Noon - 6pm26% 6pm - midnight1748% Unknown26% Total35100%

36 International Flash Flood Laboratory Texas flood activities - Specific tasks Add flood safety information to Texas Driver’s Handbook and add flood safety questions on exam Add flood safety to driver’s education school programs and defensive driving Require flood safety training for school bus drivers Work with Texas Department of Transportation to activate digital highway signs on all interstate highways Develop Turn Around Don’t Drown public service announcements and video ASSESS baseline awareness and EVALUATE effectiveness of public awareness campaigns – target particular populations – include in budget !

37 International Flash Flood Laboratory From CoCoRahs 10/14/09 growing real-time grass roots national rainfall network

38 Challenge – Holding car companies accountable of confronting ads from car companies How to convince people they are better Wet than Dead? Ad says: Warning: use the cup holders at your own risk International Flash Flood Laboratory

39 Before our Warning Project funded by the National Science Foundation the last major research on warnings was done in the 1970s What about cell phones, Internet, private and public sources of information? How are diverse urban populations interpreting warnings? International Flash Flood Laboratory

40 Our 2003-2008 National Science Foundation project aimed to Evaluate impacts of –Demographic change –New and different sources of information Test conventional wisdom about –False alarms/ close calls International Flash Flood Laboratory

41 What we know about warnings – Public response components Hear/receive Understand Believe Personalize Decide to act Respond The warning process is complex International Flash Flood Laboratory

42 Warning project methodology Survey Development –1 year –Input from officials and hazards researchers Survey format –Likert scale and true/false –Demographic questions –Experience with flash floods and trauma –Surveys in English & Spanish to selected respondents –Survey is available – for follow up studies International Flash Flood Laboratory Mail survey 6000 surveys sent to residents in or near the floodplain 1017 surveys returned

43 Where do people get their weather information? What is the best way for officials to warn you about a flash flood? International Flash Flood Laboratory

44 All sources of weather information used n=935 International Flash Flood Laboratory

45 The best way for officials to warn you about a flash flood? N=1020 International Flash Flood Laboratory

46 I take flash flood warnings seriously n=1017 92% 8% International Flash Flood Laboratory

47 I would drive through an intersection with six inches of water running across it 63% say they would NOT DRIVE through it Is this good or bad news? International Flash Flood Laboratory

48 Realizing it’s difficult to predict flash floods, I prefer more warnings even if there are more false alarms or close calls N= 1047

49 Officials are too sensitive to the possibility of flash flooding N = 1031 International Flash Flood Laboratory

50 Warning project findings Weather information requirements of each user community are highly specialized -- there is no ONE PUBLIC Different languages, capabilities, economic status The weather research community has not focused on the individual needs of specific user communities There is no ideal lead time RECOGNITION THAT STUDIES OF BEHAVIOR MAY TELL US MORE THAN RESEARCH ON PERCEPTIONS International Flash Flood Laboratory

51 What were they thinking? Using to observe driver behavior crossing flooded roads Cedar League Geography and Environmental Studies University of Colorado at Colorado Springs 2009 Benefits 1) Free access to data - no temporal, spatial and economic limitations 2) YouTube provides user profiles – age, location, hobbies 3) Comments and video ratings are often left by other YouTubers 4) YouTubers may be contacted by the researcher International Flash Flood Laboratory

52 Quantitative analysis Survey questions –Purpose of trip –Why YouTube –Sources for weather info –Awareness of warnings –Vehicle type –Familiarity with location –Closed roads or require rescue –Drive again in similar conditions –Factors influencing YouTubers to drive in flood waters –Factors influencing YouTubers to avoid flooded roads International Flash Flood Laboratory

53 52 out of 100 surveys were returned for a total response rate of 54% 90% percent male, 10% female 81% were aged 18-35, 19% were aged 36-55 85% white, 15% other 75% completed at least some college Respondents represented 18 different states Results - demographics International Flash Flood Laboratory

54 Qualitative analysis Content Analysis: Variables were first recorded on a spreadsheet after viewing the videos, and used to aid in developing the online questionnaire Gender Approximate age # Passengers Vehicle type Driving conditions Presence of warning signs or officials International Flash Flood Laboratory

55 YouTube study limitations 1) Non-representative sample 2) Non-random sample 3) Videos are not based on the same weather event, so results are less comparable between respondents Despite its limitations, this study and its methods are useful for observational research in hazards and other geographical research International Flash Flood Laboratory

56 Purpose of trip Texas State University International Flash Flood LaboratoryInternational Flash Flood Laboratory

57 Intentional/situational Intentional drivers: purpose was to film the flood water, or to drive in the flood water (for fun). 59% (n=31) Situational drivers: purpose of trip was based upon their current situation, like driving to or returning from work. 41% (n=21) International Flash Flood Laboratory

58 Weather warnings Was a NWS warning or watch in effect? –Yes – 61% No – 15% Not Sure – 25% Did the warning influence your decision to drive that day? – 87% said No (n=28) Do you pay attention to warnings? –64% always or usually –23% sometimes –13% rarely or never The watch or warning…“Made me curious as to what it looked like around town”; “Motivated me to go and have fun!” “It just made me want to go driving even more because I knew there was some crazy stuff to be seen and manipulate.” International Flash Flood Laboratory

59 Vehicle type 62% were driving a truck or SUV (n=32) 38% were driving a car or van (n=20) Confidence in the vehicle had a strong influence to cross for truck and SUV drivers (p=0.003), compared to car and van drivers. Survey Comments “I love driving where others can’t… I am a mudder, I love doing things others would never think of in a car.” “I saw about six cars break down trying to get through it, and I thought it would be fun to be the one to make it through.” International Flash Flood Laboratory

60 Driving on closed roads 24% admitted to driving on closed roads (n=12) All were males between the ages 18- 35 Believed the roads were not dangerous (p = 0.023) Pay less attention to NWS warnings International Flash Flood Laboratory League’s study reaffirms what Ruin found It will take more than “better” information to change driver behavior in flash floods

61 Most academic programs foster uni – disciplinary approach to atmospheric or hydrologic aspects Academic requirements are limiting within majors Students demanding more comprehensive approaches Geography departments are accommodating Interdisciplinary degrees are possible communication/meteorology meteorology/geography International Flash Flood Laboratory There are exceptions….

62 Dr. Hatim Sharif University of Texas at San Antonio Ph.D. environmental engineering –hydrology Invited social scientists to his engineering classes Participates in community mitigation activities Masters in Public Health International Flash Flood Laboratory

63 International Flash Flood Laboratory metrics for success Good data and sustained interdisciplinary archive of flash flood information New sustained partnerships New hybrid social/physical scientists/engineers Reduced losses ALL OF THE ABOVE International Flash Flood Laboratory

64 Reviewing the presentation's four parts International Flash Flood Laboratory 1.Hydro-socio-meteor-ology at work Programs and people in action: WAS * IS, SSWIM, Isabelle Ruin Institutional collaborators from outside / inside Texas Emphasis on social science and recent flash floods 2.Results from recent flash flood research: Warning Project, YouTube study 3.Necessity of hybrid approach 4.Looking ahead to our workshop and our work

65 What did the most influential players in flash flood research and practice look like prior to today’s workshop? International Flash Flood Laboratory


67 Hydro-socio-meteoro-logists are NOT the same people with new models or gadgets! International Flash Flood Laboratory

68 IFFL partners are changing the uni- dimensional culture International Flash Flood Laboratory

69 National Weather Service hydrologists Private forecasters Environmental groups Local Communities Hydro-socio-meteoro-logy occurs when stovepipes are not the model Universities International Agencies Geographers Research Centers Urban Drainage Districts Anthropologists Broadcast meteorologists Utilities National Weather Service meteorologists International Flash Flood Laboratory

70 Flash floods – Recurring problem: plenty of work for International Flash Flood Laboratory Louisville 8/5/2009 International Flash Flood Laboratory AP Photo/ News & Record, H. Scott Hoffmann Greensboro, NC 6/03/2009

71 THANKS TO Dr. Pam Showalter for her vision and hard work to bring us all together today and… from now on in sustainable ways Dr. Isabelle Ruin for continuing to inspire applied flash flood research in the US and in Europe All of YOU who are committed to reducing flood losses across agencies, geographic boundaries, and disciplines International Flash Flood Laboratory Natalie Zook Age 9-11 1 st place

72 We're in it for the long haul and we will be creative Special thanks to Roy Sedwick for decades of work to collect data, reduce losses, and increase awareness of the flash flood hazards in Texas and in the US International Flash Flood Laboratory

73 More possibilities under the International Flash Flood Laboratory umbrella More local workshops on data collections or learning from experiences Bringing in more associations, agencies, companies, universities, local governments New courses in flash flood mitigation that emphasize –Hydrology, meteorology and social science methods Research evaluating program effectiveness International Flash Flood Laboratory TODAY we will add to this list (funding possibilities?)

74 The James and Marilyn Lovell Center for Environmental Geography and Hazards Research, and the International Flash Flood Laboratory welcome our workshop registrants, who represent the following entities: Army Corps of Engineers – Fort Worth District: Hydrology and Hydraulics Section Bexar County: Infrastructure Services Capital Area Council of Governments: Homeland Security City of Llano: Building and Code Enforcement City of New Braunfels City of San Antonio: Fire/EMS, and the Office of Emergency Management Civil Air Patrol Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies and University of Oklahoma: Social Science Woven Into Meteorology David Ford Consulting Engineers Fayette County: Office of Emergency Management Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority: Engineering Halff Associates, Inc. Harris County: Flood Control District Hays County: Offices of Environmental Health and Emergency Management, and Dept. of Resource Protection, Transportation, & Planning High Sierra Electronics, Inc. KTBC-TV FOX 7-Austin: News Lower Colorado River Authority National Center for Atmospheric Research: Institute for the Study of Society and Environment National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: National Weather Service--Austin-San Antonio, Houston/Galveston, News8Austin: News West Gulf River Forecast Center, Weather Forecast Office (Fort Worth), Southern Region Headquarters; National Geodetic Survey Stephen F. Austin State University: Department of Social and Cultural Analysis Sutron Corporation Texas A&M University: Department of Atmospheric Sciences, & the Conrad Blucher Institute’s Texas Spatial Reference Center Texas Association of Counties: Information Technology, & the County Information Project Texas Department of State Health Services: Environmental and Injury Epidemiology & Toxicology Unit Texas Floodplain Management Association: Executive Office Texas State University-San Marcos: Departments of Anthropology, Geography, & the School of Journalism & Mass Communication University of Texas-San Antonio: Civil and Environmental Engineering Texas Water Development Board: National Flood Insurance Program Williamson County: Office of Emergency Management

75 Flash flood references Environmental Hazards 2007 -- Volume 7 C. Benight, E.Gruntfest, M. Hayden, L. Barnes Trauma and short-fuse weather warning perceptions S. Drobot C. Benight, E. Gruntfest Risk factors for driving into flooded roads M. Hayden, S. Drobot, S. Radil, C. Benight, E. Gruntfest, L. Barnes Information sources for flash flood warnings in Denver, CO and Austin, TX I.Ruin, J-C. Gaillard, C. Lutoff How to get there? Assessing motorists’ flash flood risk perception on daily itineraries International Flash Flood Laboratory Clark County Regional Flood Control District

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