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The USGS brings together an integrated approach to hurricane science. Through multiple scientific disciplines, hazard and risk assessments, cutting-edge technology in data, tools and geospatial applications, we inform our nation’s efforts in building resilient coastal communities before storms strike, and with the strategic guidance needed to respond, recover and prepare for the next one.

USGS provides nationally consistent science, data and tools for each storm event. In addition, USGS works with partners to assess risk and to inform and design actionable science strategies that help reduce loss and impacts to vulnerable communities. Our goals are to ensure human safety, minimize economic and natural resource losses, while also collecting the vital scientific data that are needed to advance our understanding of hurricane impacts and our ability to deliver informational products needed by decision-makers and emergency responders.  As part of this mission, we are implementing the USGS Risk Plan, to ensure that hurricane-related science includes innovative research and applications that help us reduce risk. USGS also supports recovery efforts in declared natural disaster areas through supplemental appropriations that focus on improving hazard planning, recovery, and response for future hurricanes.

The USGS is uniquely positioned to deliver integrated, actionable science related to hurricanes and their related hazards to wide range of community and resource managers. We have teams dedicated to:

  • mapping coastal elevation and applying remote sensing capabilities in coastal areas,
  • measuring and monitoring coastal hydrologic conditions such as storm surge and flood inundation,
  • assessing coastal change hazards,
  • analyzing water quality and contaminants, and
  • evaluating ecosystem structure, habitat suitability and change.

The USGS pursues collaborative research through partnerships across the Federal family as well as with the academic community to improve our Nation’s ability to predict coastal impacts and changes from hurricanes and other powerful storms.  This includes building nationwide consistency in data availability, harnessing the input information needed for developing and implementing predictive models as well as identifying gaps and areas for advancement. These partnerships also support understanding on how hurricane impacts factor into assessing longer term coastal change vulnerabilities and evaluating risks to coastal communities.

When a hurricane is approaching the coast, the USGS Storm team coordinates our response to each individual storm, supporting a wide range of partners with the diverse scientific expertise needed to forecast, assess and respond to hazardous conditions. Data, tools, and products can be used to predict and map coastal vulnerability to flooding and shoreline change in advance and during the storm. In post-storm conditions, USGS information can help public officials assess storm damages and hazards, discern between wind and flood damage, improve future flood forecasting and help emergency managers identify where vulnerabilities exist in advance of the next storm. USGS products continue to support storm-related concerns by helping to identify infrastructure and properties at risk, steering relief to areas of greatest need, and informing decisions that help communities, homeowners and insurers recover from their losses.  

From basic data monitoring and research, to applied models and assessments, the USGS is committed to collaborative partnerships that advance the science we need to help our Nation build resilient coastal communities and ecosystems that are prepared for storms and the inevitable changes that accompany them.