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Spatially Compounded Weather Events: An Example from Hurricanes Matthew and Florence



Scott Curtis, Kelley DePolt, Jamie Kruse, Anuradha Mukherji, Jennifer Helgeson, Ausmita Ghosh, Philip Van Wagoner


The simultaneous rise of tropical-cyclone-induced flood waters across a large hazard management domain can stretch rescue and recovery efforts. Here we present a means to quantify the connectedness of maximum surge during a storm with geospatial statistics. Tide gauges throughout the extensive estuaries and barrier islands of North Carolina deployed and operating during hurricanes Matthew (n=82) and Florence (n=123) are used to compare the spatial compounding of surge for these two disasters. Moran's I showed the occurrence of maximum storm tide was more clustered for Matthew compared to Florence, and a semivariogram analysis produced a spatial range of similarly timed storm tide that was 4 times as large for Matthew than Florence. A more limited data set of fluvial flooding and precipitation in eastern North Carolina showed a consistent result – multivariate flood sources associated with Matthew were more concentrated in time as compared to Florence. Although Matthew and Florence were equally intense, they had very different tracks and speeds which influenced the timing of surge along the coast.
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences


Curtis, S. , DePolt, K. , Kruse, J. , Mukherji, A. , Helgeson, J. , Ghosh, A. and Van, P. (2021), Spatially Compounded Weather Events: An Example from Hurricanes Matthew and Florence, Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, [online],, (Accessed June 15, 2024)


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Created June 3, 2021