Often the coastlines of entire states or an entire area, such as the Great Lakes, are included in one coastal study. Due to the large scale of FEMA's coastal flood studies, many are performed using clusters of high-powered computers to calculate components (e.g. storm surge, wave conditions) of a coastal flood. Such computing power is necessary to capture the physics of water moving over highly detailed topography and bathymetry.
The computer models calculate water levels and wave effects in areas that can be several hundred miles across, at hundreds of thousands (or sometimes millions) of points every few seconds during each simulation. Typically, 100 to 200 storms or coastal flood events are simulated for a coastal flood study.