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The rise of offshore water caused by the high winds of a low pressure weather system, or storm surge, is a hurricane's greatest threat to human life. As weather forecasters struggle to enable coastal residents to make timely evacuation decisions, the need arises for more visually compelling and interactive storm surge visualization tools. This paper presents an interactive and three-dimensional storm surge visualization system. It integrates road, topographic, and building data to construct accurate three-dimensional models of major cities in the State of Florida. Storm surge data are then used to construct a three-dimensional ocean positioned over the terrain models. Ambient details such as wind, vegetation, ocean waves, and traffic are animated based on up-to-date wind and storm surge data. Videos of the storm surge visualizations are recorded and made available to coastal residents through a web-interface. The three-dimensional visualization of geographic and storm surge data provides a more visually compelling representation of the potential effects of storm surge than traditional two-dimensional models and is more capable to enable coastal residents to make potentially life-saving evacuation decisions.
Date of Conference: 4-6 Aug. 2010