Thursday, September 25, 2014

Monitor for a Storm Surge as you track a Hurricane

What is a Hurricane Storm Surge?

Storm Surge is a phenomenon that occurs most often when a tropical cyclone, either a tropical storm or a hurricane pushes water onshore. The winds associated with these types of storms are remarkably fast and as they rush across the surface of the water they push the water forward causing it to rise above normal sea level. Also the center of these circular storms, the eye, is a low pressure area compared to the surrounding storm and this causes a second rise in sea lea called a pressure surge.

This creates a front of waves and water that rush towards the shore and can flood and destroy coastal areas. The extent to which your area is going to be in danger depends on the strength of the storm and the topography of the ocean floor around your coastline.

The damage that a hurricane can inflict comes not only from the ferociously high winds but also from flooding and waves caused by these storm surges. Much of the reason that Hurricane Katrina was a deadly and caused as much damage as it did was because of massive flooding. In some coastal cities nearly 80% of the metropolitan areas were completely flooded. In New Orleans waves 15 feet above normal rushed over seawalls to flood the city. In the deadliest and most costly hurricanes in United States history the storm surge associated with the storm is how most lives are lost and the most damage caused.

The threat of a storm surge should be monitored as you track a hurricane in your area. If you are in an area that is considered close to sea level you should monitor your evacuation status. If you are ordered to evacuate proceed immediately to your local hurricane shelter. The storm surge can be just as deadly as the high winds brought on by the hurricanes.

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