STARKVILLE, Miss.--While Hurricane Isaac approaches and warnings are being
issued for portions of the northern Gulf Coast, Mississippi State University
researchers are preparing 12-hour models to forecast storm surge from Isaac that
will inundate the coastal areas in its path.
This information will be of
significant assistance to decision makers of disaster agencies and others who
are advising the public of emergency preparedness plans for sheltering in place
or for potential evacuations.
The models are being run by a team of
scientists under the direction of Pat Fitzpatrick, research professor of
meteorology and MSU hurricane expert. He is known for his research publications
that include the reference book Hurricanes (2nd edition).
team is located at the MSU Science and Technology Center at Stennis Space Center
in Hancock County.
The storm surge models are generated from the ADvanced
CIRCulation (ADCIRC) model, a hydrodynamic model requiring a supercomputer to
capture high-resolution features. The track and winds are based on the official
National Hurricane Center forecasts.
Fitzpatrick's data for winds is
designed to capture the horizontal distribution out to their 39-mph extent
"Capturing the horizontal wind distribution is
just as important as getting the track and intensity right," he
The large-capacity model runs are an example of the
computational services being provided by the university's High Performance
Computing Collaboratory, which is located in the Thad Cochran Research,
Technology and Economic Development Park in Starkville.
Research Institute at Stennis, where Fitzpatrick is based, is one of six member
centers of the HPC2 that are able to take advantage of MSU's high performance
"Not only does Dr. Fitzpatrick's technology
assist decision makers with hazards response and evacuation plans, it might also
assist with other research projects, such as helping to determine how freshwater
inundation affects oyster beds," said GRI Director Robert Moorhead.
storm surge model effort is part of a larger research collaboration, Moorhead
As a member of the NSF-funded Northern Gulf Coastal Hazards
Collaboratory, MSU is working with Louisiana and Alabama to leverage
partnerships, proximity and significant prior ventures to advance science and
engineering of coastal hazards across the northern Gulf of Mexico region. For
more information, visit www.nghc.org
To access the storm surge
models, visit http://www.gri.msstate.edu/research/severeweather