UNF researchers trying to change storm surge prediction models

The scene above Jacksonville Beach as flooding extends deep into the area.Reporter Katie Jeffries captured this photo in a condo building. 
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- One group of students and faculty have a particular eye on Hurricane Irma. They're part of a research team at UNF that's looking at several aspects of hurricanes including storm surge and coastal resilience.
 
Storm surge is that push of water that comes ahead of the storm. We saw it during Hurricane Matthew. 
And they found that when computing storm surge, models needed some independent tweaking to get results.
So now, they're trying to come up with a new model that would take that tweaking out and would work for any situation. It would also work with storm surge and river flooding -- so the two can be computed together to get correct result. 
 
"We see this has a very large impact. Just inches of rain versus storm surge alone, we can't keep these two values separate. We need to consider both when we're predicting what's about to happen. So, it's good that we're working on this with the coastal resilience centers to include both hydrology and hydraulics into one model," said UNF graduate student Amanda Tritinger. 
 
Here in Jacksonville, we have a lot of coast. That coast can be severely impacted from hurricanes. Some of the other research has to do with how the coastline responds and is impacted by these storms. Taylor Engineering Research Institute director Don Resio says our coast has been built to a threshold. 

"Matthew just got the bottom end of that threshold. So, we didn't have too much coastal damage, A much bigger storm will surpass that threshold that we've built to. And, we would see much more wide spread damage," said Resio. 

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