American Society of Civil Engineers

Economic Losses from a Hypothetical Hurricane Event in the Houston-Galveston Area

by Qisheng Pan, (Associate Professor and Chair, Dept. of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy, Texas Southern Univ., 3100 Cleburne St., Houston, TX 77004. E-mail:

Natural Hazards Review, Vol. 12, No. 3, August 2011, pp. 146-155, (doi:

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Document type: Case Studies
Abstract: Most articles in the literature on hurricane impact analysis have focused on historical hurricanes, and few of them have examined the potential losses caused by a hypothetical hurricane event that may occur in the future. This research proposes a systematic approach to estimating the economic losses of a hypothetical hurricane event and examining the spatial distribution of estimated losses. The approach focuses on the Houston-Galveston area as a case study region to demonstrate how the proposed method works for a large metropolitan area. First, it designs a scenario for a hypothetical major hurricane event in the area. Second, it utilizes the hurricane model in FEMA’s HAZUS package to estimate damage states of buildings in the area. Third, it adopts a regional input-output model based on geographic information systems (GIS) to calculate direct, indirect, and induced sectoral and aggregate effects. Finally, it allocates these predicted effects to small impact analysis zones and highlights the most vulnerable geographic areas in the region.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Regional analysis
Natural disasters
Economic factors
Gulf of Mexico

Author Keywords:
Regional analysis
Natural disasters
Economic impact
Regional input-output model
Gulf of Mexico
Houston-Galveston area