Document Type


Date of Original Version



Ocean Engineering


Under the STORMTOOLS initiative, maps of the impact of sea level rise (SLR) (0 to 12 ft), nuisance flooding (1–10 yr), 25, 50, and 100 yr storms, and hindcasts of the four top ranked tropical storms have been developed for the coastal waters of Rhode Island (RI). Estimates of the design elevations, expressed in terms of the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) and thus incorporating surge and associated wave conditions, have also been developed, including the effects of SLR to facilitate structural design. Finally, Coastal Environmental Risk Index (CERI) maps have been developed to estimate the risk to individual structures and infrastructure. CERI employs the BFE maps in concert with damage curves for residential and commercial structures to make estimates of damage to individual structures. All maps are available via an ArcGIS Hub. The objective of this senior design capstone project was to develop STORMTOOLS Design Load maps (SDL) with a goal of estimating the hydrostatic, hydrodynamic, wave, and debris loading, based on ASCE/SEI 7–16 Minimum Design Standards methods, on residential structures in the RI coastal floodplain. The resulting maps display the unitized loads and thus can be scaled for any structure of interest. The goal of the maps is to provide environmental loads that support the design of structures, and reduce the time and cost required in performing the design and the permitting process, while also improving the accuracy and consistency of the designs. SDL maps were generated for all loads, including the effects of SLR for a test case: the Watch Hill/Misquamicut Beach, Westerly, along the southern RI coast. The Autodesk Professional Robot Structural Analysis software, along with SDL loading, was used to evaluate the designs for selected on-grade and pile-elevated residential structures. Damage curves were generated for each and shown to be consistent with the US Army Corps of Engineers empirical damage curves currently used in CERI.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Alexa Leone and Malcolm Spaulding are affiliated with the Department of Ocean Engineering.

Christopher Baxter has a dual appointment with the Department of Ocean Engineering and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

George Tsiatas is affiliated with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.