Storm surge and evacuation in urban areas during the peak of a storm

Hiroshi Takagi, Siyang Li, Mario de Leon, Miguel Esteban, Takahito Mikami, Ryo Matsumaru, Tomoya Shibayama, Ryota Nakamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present paper examines the impact of floodwater caused by the storm surge brought about by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, focusing on downtown Tacloban in Leyte Island, the Philippines. A reliable numerical model for predicting such flooding was developed by calibrating the results of field investigations, including footage from a video clip taken during the storm surge. The simulation reveals that flow velocities along the streets in downtown Tacloban reached up to 7. m/s due to flow contraction along the high-density blocks of houses, and how water levels reached their peak in just 10. min. According to the depth-velocity product criteria, often used for evaluating the vulnerability of people and buildings to floodwaters, only 8% of the length of streets in downtown Tacloban were within the safe limits that allow pedestrian evacuation. Based on these findings, the present research concludes that pedestrian evacuation in the middle of a storm surge generated by a strong typhoon is a high-. risk behavior. Thus, clearly and objectively, evacuation during this time should not be encouraged, even when seawater intrudes the houses of local residents. In this respect, it would appear imperative that prior to the arrival of the typhoon all residents should evacuate areas at risk of being flooded. Though the flood height was significant in the downtown area, the damage to these houses was limited. If it was not possible for some reason to evacuate prior to the arrival of the typhoon, those in solid houses should first consider vertical evacuation and the possibility that they could survive in their place, rather than courageously evacuating in an unpredictable water flow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalCoastal Engineering
Volume108
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Feb 1

Keywords

  • Depth-velocity product
  • Numerical simulation
  • Pedestrian evacuation
  • Storm surge
  • Tacloban
  • Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering

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