Understanding Natural and Human Initiation and Transmission of Cascading Hazards (UNHITCH) (Spring 2019)

In September 2018, Hurricane Florence caused $38 billion in damages and 53 fatalities and highlighted the risk of cascading disasters – chains of events in which a primary disruption triggers a sequence of secondary and then tertiary disruptions – in North Carolina. This project team studied the cascading disasters that occurred in North Carolina as a result of Hurricane Florence, with a focus on widespread power outages, coal ash spills and hog-waste lagoon overflows.

Using news analysis and stakeholder interviews to understand the chain of events following Hurricane Florence, the team generated maps using remote sensing data and GIS to identify relations between system failures and environmental and socio-demographic patterns. The team created conceptual models of the cascading disasters using event trees and causal networks that can inform models to identify potential warning signs, points of intervention and other opportunities to interrupt the observed chains of events. The team also reviewed legislation, policy, regulations and previous community efforts related to cascading failures and developed policy briefs detailing policy issues and recommendations for energy system failures and coal ash and hog farm management.

Timing

Spring 2019

Team Outputs

Coal Ash (policy brief)

Substation Hardening for Electricity Resiliency (policy brief presented to the North Carolina Utilities Commission)

This Team in the News

New Bass Connections Project: Understanding the Initiation and Transmission of Cascading Hazards

New Project Teams Will Tackle Research to Inform Hurricane Preparedness and Resiliency Effort

 

Waves crash at Atlantic Beach, NC, during Hurricane Florence.

Team Leaders

  • Elizabeth Albright, Nicholas School of the Environment-Environmental Sciences and Policy
  • Mark Borsuk, Pratt School of Engineering-Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Luana Lima, Nicholas School of the Environment-Environmental Sciences and Policy

/graduate Team Members

  • Celine Robinson, Civil & Environmental Engg-PHD
  • Cai May Tan, Master of Environmental Management, Environmental Economics/Policy
  • Connor Valaik, Master of Environmental Management, Energy and Environment
  • Stella Wang, Master of Environmental Management, Ecotoxicology & Environmental Health

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Elizabeth Allen, Environmental Sci/Policy (AB)
  • Yiwen Jiang, Environmental Sci/Policy (AB)
  • Daniel Kim, Interdepartmental Major
  • Jeremy Liang, Economics (BS)
  • Cydney Livingston
  • Niyaz Nurbhasha, Computer Science (BS)
  • Nishanth Singaraju
  • Jamiee Williams, Civil Engineering (BSE)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Lori Bennear, Nicholas School of the Environment-Environmental Sciences and Policy
  • Kyle Bradbury, Pratt School of Engineering-Electrical & Computer Engineering|Energy Initiative
  • Christine Ogilvie Hendren, Pratt School of Engineering-Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Dalia Patino Echeverri, Nicholas School of the Environment-Environmental Sciences and Policy

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Duke Energy
  • North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality
  • North Carolina General Assembly
  • Scholars Strategy Network
  • Duke Data & Visualization Services