Flooding adds to the woes from Hurricane Michael

Flooding adds to the woes from Hurricane Michael

Hurricane Michael slammed ashore Wednesday October 10, bringing wind and storm surge to the Florida Panhandle that was unprecedented in over 160 years of record keeping [1]. Early reports tell of devastation in the seaside community of Mexico Beach [2]. By Friday, the death toll stood at 11 and was expected to rise as emergency workers rush to reach areas cut off by wind-blown trees, power lines, and building debris blocking access roads.

Unlike September’s Hurricane Florence, Michael’s inland flooding has had less impact than its winds and storm surge. On Thursday October 11, AER used the rapid detection mode of our FloodScan system to map flood extent in the Panhandle just hours after Michael had moved off to the northeast [3]. FloodScan uses data from passive microwave satellite sensors to penetrate clouds and vegetation and measure large-area flooded fraction in close to real time. A relative floodability database transforms flooded fraction into a depiction of flood extent at 90-meter resolution, accounting for topography, streamlines, and land cover.

The image below shows flooding along Michael’s path from Panama City, FL, through Albany, GA. Flooded pixels are mostly found along waterways and woody wetlands although with a closer look you can find them scattered elsewhere as well.

Image 1, AER maxFlood, Michael, Panama City 101118: 

AER maxFlood Florence_large area(Click image to enlarge)

Michael continued to dump rain across the US Eastern Seaboard through Friday October 12 and there is the potential for renewed flooding in parts of the Carolinas still recovering from Hurricane Florence. For more information and access to a web-based interface to FloodScan’s automatic flood maps, visit floodscan.aer.com.


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Michael

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/11/us/hurricane-michael-florida-assessment.html

[3] http://floodscan.aer.com