The mapping of storm surge-prone areas and characterizing surge-producing cyclones in Leyte Gulf, Philippines

Document Type


Publication Date



Historically, Leyte Gulf in central eastern Philippines has received catastrophic damage due to storm surges, the most recent of which was during Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. A city-level risk assessment was performed on Leyte Gulf through synthetic storm generation, high-resolution ocean modeling, and decision tree analyses. Cyclones were generated through a combination of a Poisson point process and Monte Carlo simulations. Wind and pressure fields generated from the cyclones were used in a storm surge model of Leyte Gulf developed on Delft3D. The output of these simulations was a synthetic record of extreme sea level events, which were used to estimate maximum surge heights for different return periods and to characterize surge-producing storm characteristics using decision tree analyses. The results showed that the area most prone to surges is the Tacloban–Basey area with a 2.8 ± 0.3 m surge occurring at a frequency of every 50 years. Nearby Palo area will likely receive a surge of 1.9 ± 0.4 m every 50 years while Giporlos–Salcedo area a surge of 1.0 ± 0.1 m. The decision tree analysis performed for each of these areas showed that for surges of 3–4 m, high-velocity winds (> 30 m/s) are consistently the main determining factor. For the areas, Tacloban, Basey, and Giporlos–Salcedo, wind speed was also the main determining factor for surge > 4 m.