NOAA and Sea Grant's Coastal Storm Awareness Program - About
Coastal Processes & Hazards - News

A joint program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Sea Grant Programs in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut

NOAA and Sea Grant's Coastal Storm Awareness Program: Background

Following the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy in October 2013, an award of approximately $1.8 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Sea Grant programs in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut was announced to fund targeted social science research and related technology transfer to improve the public response to coastal storm hazard information (see related press release - click here)

Digging out after Superstorm Sandy's damage in Long Beach, New York. Photograph by Andrew Burton, Getty Images

The intent behind the creation of this, the "Coastal Storm Awareness Program" (CSAP) originated from a stark concept, as detailed in the effort's Request for Proposals: "The hard reality is that many of the human deaths and injuries caused by this historic, devastating storm were likely preventable. Too many coastal residents either failed to fully understand the severity of the storm and the dangerous conditions it would produce, or chose not to evacuate in spite of the serious risks of staying in their homes."

The objective of this research initiative is to better understand the coastal storm hazards warning system, the information it conveys (what, when, how, and by whom) and the factors that affect whether recipients of this information decide to act on it.  The goal of the program is to save lives and promote public safety by creating tools that will better inform people of the true severity of the danger from coastal storm hazards and increase the likelihood that residents who should remove themselves out of harm’s way actually do so and avoid becoming storm casualties.

The program will have a two-year duration, with research completed in the first 18 months. The final phase of the program will be spent in an intensive effort to introduce the program’s products and research results to the coastal storm hazard prediction and response community, working with its members to adopt and implement technologies, tools and procedures to improve coastal storm hazard prediction and the understanding and responsiveness of the general public to these warnings.

In January 2014, 10 CSAP projects were announced by The National Sea Grant Office, which made separate, equal and parallel awards from the funds provided by NOAA to the New Jersey, New York and Connecticut Sea Grant programs (see related press release - click here). From these monies, each individual state program is funding a handful of selected research proposals. A portion of these funds also support collaborative extension and communication activities identified by the Sea Grant program managers and a Program Steering Committee comprised of professionals drawn from NOAA's National Weather Service and emergency hazard response community in the Sandy-affected area, as well as representatives of public communications media.

Superstorm Sandy narrowed New Jersey's beaches by more than 30 feet on average. At Seaside Heights, it swept away the pier under the roller coaster. Photograph by Stephen Wilkes for National Geographic

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