Research experts on flood impacts to infrastructure, contaminants, policiesby Heidi Hall Sep. 13, 2017, 9:35 AM
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Planning effective responses to flooding
Mark Abkowitz, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Environmental Management Studies and professor of civil and environmental engineering, is an expert in risk management when it comes to extreme weather events and also can discuss assessing how to adapt infrastructure so it’s ready. He’s the author of “Operational Risk Management: A Case Study Approach to Effective Planning and Response.”
- WATCH Abkowitz explain why we need to rethink where and if to rebuild
- Case study: Response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005
Developing flood policies to protect residents and understanding FEMA
James Fraser, associate professor of community development and action, has been consulted by Congress to develop rules on flood insurance reform. His primary research area is urban geography and urban planning, specifically on how such areas deal with the threat of floods and develop policies that protect their citizens.
Predicting outcomes of extreme weather events
Hiba Baroud, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, is leading a project funded by the National Science Foundation focused on using Bayesian statistical modeling to measure and analyze the risk, reliability and resilience in critical infrastructure systems. She uses the models, which incorporate data plus expert interviews, to predict outcomes in extreme weather events and make plans for how communities can recover the most quickly.
- Research explainer: Better Models Predict Weather Disaster Outcomes, Help Plan Recoveries
Mapping flood vulnerabilities nationwide
Janey Camp, research associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, can discuss her deployment of web-based tools – which eventually will be available nationwide – to map West Tennessee flood vulnerabilities under future climate scenarios. She also can discuss the realities of continuing to rebuild higher or stronger in flood-prone areas.
- Camp helped write the ASCE’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card.
- Research explainer: Web-based Tool Helps Government Plan for Climate Change
Tracking contaminants spread by the flood
J.B. Ruhl, David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair in Law at Vanderbilt University, can comment on the danger of flood waters from hurricane Harvey threatening wetland mitigation banks, endangered species preserves and other protected lands. Also, he says that toxic chemicals, silt and other contaminants were likely spread by flooding into freshwater lakes and ponds, as well as rivers and other waterways that empty into the Gulf of Mexico.