Caribbean Disaster Mitigation Project
Implemented by the Organization of American States
Unit of Sustainable Development and Environment
for the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and the Caribbean Regional Program


Atlas of Probable Storm Effects in the Caribbean Sea

To effectively mitigate the effects of storm hazards (surge, high winds and wave action) on existing or future development, it is necessary to understand the distribution, magnitude and frequency of the hazard at the location of interest. Although hurricanes are an annual phenomenon in the Caribbean, the limited historical record of hurricane strikes and associated storm effects makes these factors difficult to determine. During the course of the Caribbean Disaster Mitigation Project (CDMP), country agencies responsible for coastal planning and regional agencies such as the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) expressed concern with this lack of data on the impact of tropical storms on coastal areas. In response to these concerns, the CDMP developed a regional storm hazard assessment capacity, now installed at CIMH, and undertook a comprehensive study to estimate the probable storm effects throughout the Caribbean basin.

Using the TAOS model, CDMP has produced maximum likely estimates for surge and wave height and wind speeds throughout the Caribbean basin for 10-, 25-, 50- and 100-year return periods. Estimates were made for each cell in a 30 arcsecond (approx 1km x 1 km) grid, covering the entire Caribbean. This information will be useful to coastal engineers, regional planners, emergency management personnel and lending and insurance institutions in assessing vulnerability to tropical storm-related hazards throughout the region.

The following storm hazard map atlases are available in PowerPoint97 format. Information about a free PowerPoint viewer [included] is available below.

Atlas Section 1: Regional Maps

This atlas contains maps for the Caribbean as a whole and individual sub-regions. This atlas has been divided into four PowerPoint presentation files, with hyperlinks between the files. To view this atlas, do one of the following:

  1. Download the four individual files below (Parts A-D) to the same directory on your computer and open that directory or
  2. Change to the 'document/reglstrm' directory on the CD

Within that directory, select and open the file 'hurratlas7a.ppt'.

Part A (550k) | Part B (3,850k) | Part C (3,475k) | Part D (2,250k)

Atlas Section 2: Island-level Maps

Island-specific atlases are presented in separate PowerPoint files. An introductory powerpoint presentation (a variation on Part A above) provides an important introduction to the information contained in the following atlases.

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CDMP home page: Project Contacts Page Last Updated: 14 May 2002