Determining tropical cyclone inland flooding loss on a large scale through a new flood peak ratio-based methodology

Jeffrey Czajkowski, Gabriele Villarini, Erwann Michel-Kerjan, James A. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


In recent years, the United States has been severely affected by numerous tropical cyclones (TCs) which have caused massive damages. While media attention mainly focuses on coastal losses from storm surge, these TCs have inflicted significant devastation inland as well. Yet, little is known about the relationship between TC-related inland flooding and economic losses. Here we introduce a novel methodology that first successfully characterizes the spatial extent of inland flooding, and then quantifies its relationship with flood insurance claims. Hurricane Ivan in 2004 is used as illustration. We empirically demonstrate in a number of ways that our quantified inland flood magnitude produces a very good representation of the number of inland flood insurance claims experienced. These results highlight the new technological capabilities that can lead to a better risk assessment of inland TC flood. This new capacity will be of tremendous value to a number of public and private sector stakeholders dealing with disaster preparedness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number044056
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • NFIP
  • TC inland flood
  • flood losses
  • flood magnitude
  • spatial structure of regional flooding


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