In a part of the world where hurricanes and severe weather events are an ever present threat that appear to be getting worse, it would seem anyone who could come up with a way to predict not only how your general area would be affected by a storm but how much wind and water were expected at your specific street address… Well, you’d expect that person to be a world-famous gazillionaire and probably a figment of the collective imagination of a storm-weary public. But actually, there is a tool that can do precisely that. And it was developed right down the road at the Stennis Space center by a south Louisiana engineer.
Qrisq uses geospatial analytics engines on big data to provide precise storm surge and wind risk analysis before and after a major storm. This is really important before a storm for all sorts of obvious reasons – like it can help you decide whether you should stay or evacuate, for instance, and whether it’s absolutely necessary to board up those windows. It’s also important on the back end because it can help resolve insurance claims, by determining whether a property was damaged by wind, which is covered by homeowners policies, or by flooding, which is covered by flood insurance.
Elizabeth developed the technology in the early 2000s, when she was working at Stennis. In 2015, she spun QRisk Analytics off into its own company. Until recently, the tool was only available to government clients, like municipalities, who have used it to help inform their policy decisions about how to prepare their populations.
Beginning with hurricane season 2022, Elizabeth has rolled out a web version of the QRisq app that will enable individual homeowners to determine the risk to their specific properties. Is this going to be an absolute game-changer for all of us living on the Gulf Coast who every time a storm heads our way have to decide whether to stay or run? Unfortunately it’s taking a hurricane for subscribers to QRisq to find out. But as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, that day is coming.
Elizabeth grew up in St. Bernard Parish, an area that has been battered more than a few times by massive storms. She received her electrical engineering degree from LSU.
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