New Storm Surge Maps for Hurricane Season

New Storm Surge Maps for Hurricane Season

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Storm Surge Potential Graphic Storm Surge Potential Graphic

Starting this 2014 hurricane season, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center will begin issuing an experimental graphic, Potential Storm Surge Flooding, whenever a hurricane or tropical storm creates a threat of rising water from wind. It will be found on their website. You’ll see a similar version on WKRG-TV News 5 when a storm threatens our area. Using a color scale of blue on the low end and red on the high end, the graphic shows potential, not guaranteed, height of water above ground level in areas and neighborhoods in storm surge zones. This potential is different for every storm that comes near us.

Like many new products from NOAA, this one may be later modified to improve how it is received and interpreted by the public and other government agencies. The experimental period is two years.

Storm surge creates an ever-increasing hazard as population density grows along our coasts. Storm surge is the extra water pushed onshore, inland, and up-river by the high winds of a hurricane or tropical storm. It is controlled by the depth of the water, the shape of the land, and the speed, intensity and size of the storm as it approaches.

This new National Hurricane Center graphic is designed to show communities and neighborhoods and streets with the greatest threats of storm surge. It should not be taken as a specific value at a single home. Areas that don’t show shading can still be impacted by extreme wind or rain or flooding from rain runoff. The Potential Storm Surge Flooding map may be updated every 6 hours when the new coordinates and track updates are issued by the National Hurricane Center, or when there is some other large change in a storm’s predicted strength or path.

Read more about hurricane preparation.

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