News: Faster Storm Surge Forecasting

2018/06/12 – DHS Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence
NC State project aims to create faster storm surge forecasting


Planning for a hurricane is a complicated process involving many stakeholders and varying degrees of uncertainty. Accurate predictions of storm surge and wave heights are vital to decision-making before, during and after the storm. Creating these predictions through modeling software can be expensive and time-consuming. When dealing with hurricanes, time is critical for emergency managers and other officials.

Helping decision-makers to save valuable prediction time is CRC Principal Investigator Dr. Casey Dietrich of North Carolina State University (NCSU). His project, “Improving the Efficiency of Wave and Surge Models via Adaptive Mesh Resolution,” involves collaboration with co-PI Dr. Clint Dawson at the University of Texas at Austin. Their project focuses on speeding up a widely used prediction tool, ADCIRC. His work with North Carolina Emergency Management during Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and his contributions to developing future disaster resilience specialists, have helped make significant contributions to disaster preparation and recovery.

News: Improving Coastal Flooding Predictions

2018/05/14 – NC Sea Grant Coastwatch Currents
Hurricane Hindsight: Researchers Work to Improve Coastal Flooding Predictions


Computer models can make surge predictions based on limited information about storm characteristics such as track, size, maximum wind speed and central pressure. Those parameters are used to predict the surface pressures and wind speeds throughout a coastal region. Those atmospheric conditions are then used to predict how the ocean will respond by generating large waves and surge, and by flooding into low-lying areas.

Given all the variables involved, there’s a lot of room for error in storm wind and surge prediction modeling.

For our study, we wanted to know how forecasting errors affect subsequent coastal flooding predictions. To that end, we needed to answer a couple of questions: First, as a storm moves closer to the coast, how accurate are forecasts of certain storm parameters like track, size, and maximum wind speed? Second, how do those forecasts affect predictions of wind speeds and storm surge?

News: Outstanding Teacher Award

2018/05/14 – NCSU Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering
Two CCEE Professors inducted into the Academy of Outstanding Teachers


Teaching students from a wide range of experiences and interests, Dietrich has incorporated dynamic, team-based methods in his courses. He believes that students learn best by doing, and encourages students to become active participants in the classroom. Using required reading to introduce students to course material, Dietrich uses class time to move toward incorporating the material into an activity or problem, which is addressed in teams. He prefers his class sessions to be more discussion oriented, and for students to experience the material in a supportive atmosphere.

2018/05/03 – NCSU College of Engineering
Bryant, de los Reyes, and Dietrich receive Outstanding Teaching Awards


[Dr. Dietrich] has contributed to the teaching mission of the department with his teaching of required courses, restarting the department’s teaching and research program in coastal engineering and improving the teaching of fluid mechanics at all levels. A former student wrote: “Dr. Dietrich is a fantastic professor and organizes his class in a refreshing way. Everything is posted online and all one needs to do is fill in the work for the examples. He is clear and concise when presenting the material and values the opinions of all the students. He emphasizes group work, which is realistic in the real world.”

2018/04/11 – NCSU Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
2017-2018 University Teaching Awards Presented

NC State recognized more than 30 faculty for their dedication to teaching, mentoring and innovation at the 2017-2018 University Teaching Awards Ceremony on April 4. The Outstanding Teacher Award was presented to the following faculty members:

  • Casey Dietrich, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering

The award recognizes excellence in teaching at all levels. Faculty must receive the Outstanding Teacher Award in order to be eligible for the Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Award. Recipients of the Outstanding Teacher Award become members of the Academy of Outstanding Teachers for as long as they remain NC State faculty. Recipients’ names are published in the commencement program.

News: Summer Research Experience

2017/09/28 – DHS CRCoE
Students participate in second annual summer exchange program


Summer activities also included a one-day exchange where students from Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) in Charlotte, N.C., visited North Carolina State University (NCSU). Nine students enrolled in a summer research program led by Dr. Hang Chen visited the NCSU Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering (CCEE), where CRC PI Dr. Casey Dietrich exposed the students to the concepts of computing-intensive and coastal resilience research.

The visiting students learned about the CCCE department, along with summer and graduate program opportunities. Dr. Dietrich arranged presentations and discussions with faculty members in their computing and system group. Ten faculty members presented their interdisciplinary research projects addressing problems throughout civil and environmental engineering using computational tools. The JCSU students also interacted with Dr. Dietrich’s graduate students and learned more about their individual research projects.

News: Storm Surge Impacts during Hurricane Irma

2017/09/14 – The Daily Tar Heel
Hurricane Irma lets North Carolina off easy

Casey Dietrich, an assistant professor at N.C. State University, said Hurricane Irma’s effects were relatively minor in coastal North Carolina because its track was so far away.

“Along the southeast coast between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach, the wind speeds barely reached the cutoff for tropical-storm strength, 39 miles per hour, and only for a few hours,” he said.

Dietrich also works as a part of the Coastal Resilience Center, a group of universities, private companies and government agencies that are led by UNC. The CRC conducts research on the threats to coastal communities due to natural hazards and climate change.

News: Prediction of and Resilience Against Extreme Events

2017/09/12 – National Science Foundation
In wake of hurricanes … NSF awards $18.7 million in natural hazards research grants

In the decade from 2003 to 2013, natural disasters around the globe caused $1.5 trillion in economic damages and took the lives of almost 1.2 million people. Over that same 10-year period, the U.S. lost nearly $650 billion due to such disasters.

How can scientists better predict or prevent such catastrophes? How can they help people recover more quickly?

To find answers to these questions, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded 15 new grants totaling $18.7 million through its PREEVENTS (Prediction of and Resilience Against Extreme Events) program. PREEVENTS is part of NSF’s Risk and Resilience portfolio.

PREEVENTS’ goals are to improve predictability and risk assessments of natural hazards, increase resilience to these events, and reduce their effects on human lives, societies and economies. PREEVENTS also supports research that will improve the understanding of the processes underlying natural hazards and extreme events.