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Why is elevation data so important to forecasting hurricane impact?

The fundamental lesson of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 (and prior catastrophic storms and hurricanes) was that storm vulnerability is first and foremost a consequence of elevation. The height at which infrastructure, resources, and communities sit in relation to average tides and water levels, storm waves, surge, and flood waters determines their exposure to overwhelmingly powerful damaging forces. Reliable, accurate, and accessible elevation information are priorities for communities anticipating impacts and preparing response strategies. Post-storm elevation is also critical for the design of resilient and cost efficient post-storm redevelopment.

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