Improving the Predictive Accuracy of Hurricane Power Outage Forecasts Using Generalized Additive Models


*Address correspondence to Seth D. Guikema, 205 Ames Hall, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA; tel: 410-516-6042; fax: 410-516-8996;


Electric power is a critical infrastructure service after hurricanes, and rapid restoration of electric power is important in order to minimize losses in the impacted areas. However, rapid restoration of electric power after a hurricane depends on obtaining the necessary resources, primarily repair crews and materials, before the hurricane makes landfall and then appropriately deploying these resources as soon as possible after the hurricane. This, in turn, depends on having sound estimates of both the overall severity of the storm and the relative risk of power outages in different areas. Past studies have developed statistical, regression-based approaches for estimating the number of power outages in advance of an approaching hurricane. However, these approaches have either not been applicable for future events or have had lower predictive accuracy than desired. This article shows that a different type of regression model, a generalized additive model (GAM), can outperform the types of models used previously. This is done by developing and validating a GAM based on power outage data during past hurricanes in the Gulf Coast region and comparing the results from this model to the previously used generalized linear models.