Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Christopher M. Chini, PhD


The increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events from climate change necessitates understanding impacts on critical infrastructure, particularly electrical transmission grids. One of the foundational concepts of a grid’s resilience is its robustness to extreme weather events, such as hurricanes. Resilience of the electric grid to high wind speeds is predicated upon the location and physical characteristics of the system components. Previous modeling assessments of electric grid failure were done at the systems level with assumptions on location and type of specific components. To facilitate more explicit adaptation metrics, accurate component-level information is needed. In this study, we build and validate a dataset of location, physical characteristics, and age of transmission structures for nine counties in the Florida Panhandle. These component characteristics were then simulated for failure under a variety of scenarios using fragility curves. Hazus, a natural disaster simulation software from the Federal Emergency Management Administration, generated wind fields for the region of interest based on multiple return periods, and a damage-based Monte Carlo simulation then determined the failure rate of each transmission tower. Although modern transmission structures are built under the more stringent extreme wind loading construction standards, the prevalence of older, wooden transmission structures throughout the region poses a substantial risk to reliable electricity transmission during hurricane events from the Gulf of Mexico.

AFIT Designator



A 12-month embargo was observed.

Approved for public release: 88ABW-2023-0400