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A Reminder About Why Storm Surge Is So Dangerous

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hurricane season may still be more than five months away but the National Hurricane Center is always planning and working on ways to keep communities safe during a storm.

NOAA's National Hurricane Center and Office for Coastal Management worked together to produce a new video to raise awareness of storm surge, which is when the ocean comes onto normally dry land.

Along the coast, storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane, yet many people don't understand the term or the danger it poses. It's hard to predict and hard to explain so this video uses a "fast draw" technique to explain the storm surge hazard in an interesting way.

In the past, large death tolls have resulted from the rise of the ocean associated with many of the major hurricanes that have made landfall.

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 is a prime example of the damage and devastation that can be caused by surge. At least 1,500 people lost their lives during Katrina and many of those deaths occurred directly, or indirectly, as a result of storm surge.

The six-month Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1st.

Watch the video here:

Storm Surge Fast Draw by NOAA/NWS National Hurricane Center on YouTube


Surge Vulnerability Facts

  • From 1990-2008, population density increased by 32% in Gulf coastal counties, 17% in Atlantic coastal counties, and 16% in Hawaii (U.S. Census Bureau 2010)
  • Much of the United States' densely populated Atlantic and Gulf Coast coastlines lie less than 10 feet above mean sea level
  • Over half of the Nation's economic productivity is located within coastal zones
  • 72% of ports, 27% of major roads, and 9% of rail lines within the Gulf Coast region are at or below 4 ft. elevation
  • A storm surge of 23 ft. has the ability to inundate 67% of interstates, 57% of arterials, almost half of rail miles, 29 airports, and virtually all ports in the Gulf Coast area



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