Modeling Potential Damages of Hurricanes at the Facility Scale: A Case Study of Eglin Air Force Base

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Tropical cyclones have intensified and are expected to strengthen throughout the 21st century due to climate change impacts. Storm intensification poses a serious threat to coastal municipalities and infrastructure that are not designed to withstand future wind and storm surge potential. Coupled modeling software has been widely used to replicate extreme weather events and simulate climate change effects to understand the magnitude of vulnerability coastal regions face. However, these studies are often conducted at too coarse resolutions to provide decision makers with actionable information for facility-level adaptation. This study addresses this limitation using a coupled modeling approach by simulating climate-intensified hurricane events at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) along the Florida Panhandle. The study simulates hurricane impacts throughout the 21st century using multithreat projections of storm surge, sea-level rise, and wind intensification. Hazus Multi-Hazard software was used to simulate hurricanes at four threat horizons for five possible climate change scenarios. Storm hazard intensities were extracted at the facility level using geographic information system software to determine the spatiotemporal impact on Eglin AFB's infrastructure. This analysis provides asset managers with likely intensities that buildings will experience and determine when and to what extent vulnerable facilities need to be made resilient. Results showed Eglin AFB could sustain between $773 million and $1.8 billion (2020 USD) in facility damage by the end of the century. This methodology can be applied to other coastal municipalities, provided adjustments are made to fit regional conditions and extremes, and could be used to inform infrastructure adaptation and development plans.


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Journal of Infrastructure Systems