Did storm surge watches & warnings make a difference?
Hurricanes Florence and Michael barrelled through portions of the southeastern United States in September and October. These storms occurred within four weeks of each other and both brought life-threatening storm surge.
Soon after landfall, National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham, Storm Surge Specialist Jamie Rhome, and Hurricane Specialist Unit Branch Chief Dr. Michael Brennan traveled to the hardest hit regions. Their goal was to see how storm surge watches and warnings, and the potential storm surge flooding maps issued by the hurricane center lined up with actual events. The team met with the local emergency managers who used these products to make their evacuation decisions. They also heard from people who experienced the impacts of surge and the catastrophic inland flooding.
The bottom line? The storm surge watches, warnings, and flooding maps were spot on and saved lives. Here’s the story:
National Hurricane Center warns of dangerous storm surge
Hurricane Florence makes landfall in North Carolina
Hurricane Michael strikes near Mexico Beach, Florida
Storm surge is responsible for more deaths than any other danger associated with tropical cyclones. Unfortunately, many people living in harm’s way focus on the wind threats and fail to appreciate the destructive power of water. Thanks to the introduction of accurate storm surge watches, warnings, and flooding maps, lives can be saved. For more information check out the hurricane center's storm surge resources.