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A Probabilistic, Parcel‐Level Inundation Prediction Tool for Medium‐Range Flood Forecasting in Large Lake Systems
Journal of the American Water Resources Association  (IF3.202),  Pub Date : 2020-12-22, DOI: 10.1111/1752-1688.12893
Kyla Semmendinger, Jillian Foley, Scott Steinschneider

This study contributes a bathtub‐style inundation prediction model with abstractions of coastal processes (i.e., storm surge and wave runup) for flood forecasting at medium‐range (weekly to monthly) timescales along the coastline of large lakes. Uncertainty from multiple data sources are propagated through the model to establish probabilistic bounds of inundation, providing a conservative measure of risk. The model is developed in a case study of the New York Lake Ontario shoreline, which has experienced two record‐setting floods over the course of three years (2017–2019). Predictions are developed at a parcel‐level and are validated using inundation accounts from an online survey and flyover imagery taken during the recent flood events. Model predictions are compared against a baseline, deterministic model that accounts for the same processes but does not propagate forward data uncertainties. Results suggest that a probabilistic approach helps capture observed instances of inundation that would otherwise be missed by a deterministic inundation model. However, downward biases are still present in probabilistic predictions, especially for parcels impacted by wave runup. The goal of the tool is to provide community planners and property owners with a conservative, parcel‐level assessment of flood risk to help inform short‐term emergency response and better prepare for future flood events.