This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Hurricane Risk Assessment for Chatham County, Georgia




Cederholm, Alyson

Type of Degree



Geology and Geography


In 2010, Savannah, GA. was ranked 4th in The Weather Channel’s Top 5 Hurricane Vulnerable and Overdue Cities. Savannah is located in Chatham County, GA., which has not been impacted by a land-falling hurricane since Hurricane David in 1979. Given its growing population and historical tourist destinations, Chatham County could potentially suffer excessive damage from a land-falling hurricane. A hurricane risk assessment is being conducted to evaluate the potential extent of damage. This risk assessment documents historical hurricane activity in the region, social vulnerability, building and infrastructure vulnerability, and storm surge potential. These factors were used to compute potential loss estimates for a worst-case scenario and a most probable scenario for the county. The worst-case scenario is the potential for a hurricane to produce the maximum amount of damage, in this case a category 5 hurricane. The most probable case scenario is the amount of loss that is most likely to occur. The determination of the worst-case scenario and most probable scenario will allow the community to make decisions and develop policies for future tropical cyclone hazards. This project focuses on hurricanes that make landfall within 150 miles south of the county and 100 miles north of the county. Four socio-economic groups; buildings; and roads and telecommunication towers will be assessed. SLOSH model data was utilized to assess storm surge potential for each hurricane category. The end result will provide Chatham County with a comprehensive, updated hurricane risk assessment.