The National Weather Service is helping you prepare for Hurricane Season with Hurricane Preparedness Week. Storm Surge and Developing an evacuation plan are today’s topics.
A storm surge gives way for the greatest potential for loss of life during a hurricane. This is water that is pushed to shore by the force of winds swirling around the storm. Combined with normal tides to create the hurricane storm tide can increase the mean water level to heights impacting roads, homes, and other critical infrastructure. In addition to this, wind driven waves are superimposed on the storm tide. This rise in water level can cause severe flooding in coastal areas, particularly when the storm tide coincides with the normal high tides. Because much of the United States’ densely populated Atlantic and Gulf Coast coastlines lie less than 10 feet above mean sea level, the danger from storm tides is tremendous.
It is important to keep in mind that storm surge is not a factor in the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Know that even a tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane can have a devastating storm surge if the proper conditions exist. In other words, don’t assume that a tropical storm or a hurricane on the low end of the Saffir-Simpson Scale will not have a large or significant storm surge. Be sure to stay informed and pay close attention to storm surge forecast details regardless of the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale rating.
Developing an Evacuation Plan
The first step to developing an evacuation plan is to determine whether or not you live in a storm surge hurricane evacuation zone or if you are in a home that would be unsafe during a hurricane. If you are, figure out where you’d go and how you’d get there if told to evacuate. You do not need to travel hundreds of miles. Identify someone, perhaps a friend or relative who doesn’t live in a zone or unsafe home, and work it out with them to use their home as your evacuation destination. If you don’t live in an evacuation zone, identify someone who does, and plan to be their inland evacuation destination. Be sure to account for your pets, as most local shelters do not permit them. Finally, be sure to put the plan in writing for you and those you care about.
To get more information about hurricane preparedness, visit the following websites.