Supercomputing online reports about how LSU’s Shell Coastal Environmental Modelling Laboratory (CEML) gave access to CEML’s supercomputing capabilities when Cyclone Sidr hit so that they could create storm surge models. These were given to Bangladesh emergency officials before Sidr made land, the storm surge maps were so detailed that they helped save countless lives.
Early on the morning of Nov. 16, Cyclone Sidr hit Bangladesh and showed no mercy. The death toll continues to rise even today. Hundreds of thousands of people were left homeless. But, nearly 24 hours in advance of the storm, Hassan Mashriqui, assistant extension professor of coastal engineering with LSU, the LSU AgCenter and the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program, gave Bangladesh emergency officials storm surge maps so detailed that area agencies were able to take action, saving countless lives. The following day, Mashriqui went to Tampa, Fla., to give a lecture at a hurricane conference. It was from his hotel room that he was able to access the LSU supercomputing network and run the first model. What he saw sent him scrambling to contact Bangladesh officials.
“These models are incredibly accurate and highly detailed,” Mashriqui said. “You can pinpoint events down to small counties and towns. We were looking at a 10 – 12 foot storm surge that would devastate anything in its path.”