Hurricane storm surge in Volusia County, Florida: Evidence of a tipping point for infrastructure damage

Edward Helderop, Anthony Grubesic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Storm surge often is the most destructive consequence of hurricanes and tropical storms, causing significant economic damage and loss of life. Many coastal communities that are located in high-risk areas vis-à-vis hurricanes and tropical storms are prepared for moderate (between six and eight feet) storm surges. Such preparation, though, is not commensurate with more severe, but less frequent, storm surges (greater than eight feet). These gaps in preparedness have serious implications for community resilience. This paper explores elements of the vulnerability and resilience of coastal communities during major storm surge events, drawing on Volusia County, Florida, United States, as a case study. It simulates the impacts of five hurricanes (Categories I-V) and their associated storm surges on local infrastructure systems, populations, and access to resources. The results suggest that Volusia County is subject to a 'tipping point' , where surge damage from Category IV storms is significantly greater than that from Category III and lower hurricanes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • Flooding
  • Infrastructure
  • Resiliency
  • Spatial analysis
  • Storm surge
  • Tipping point

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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