WBRZ Weather

Storm Surge and Inland Flooding

Font size

Posted: May 26, 2014 11:07 AM by Meteorologist Josh Eachus
Updated: May 26, 2014 11:07 AM
Source:

  Rating: 5.0 (1 vote)

Topics: weather, topical, hurricane preparedness week, surge, flooding

Considered the most life-threatening of tropical hazards is the storm surge and inland flooding.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration defines storm surge as an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm's winds. Storm surge can reach heights well over 20 feet and can span hundreds of miles of coastline. In the northern hemisphere, the highest surge values typically occur in the right front quadrant of a hurricane where winds are blowing onshore. More intense and larger hurricanes produce higher surge.

Astronomical tides can be exaggerated by storm surges, creating even higher tides. A tropical cyclone making landfall during a high tide with large waves can create remarkable property damage and coastal erosion.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina produced a 27-foot tide on the Mississippi coast.

Storm surge can rush a long distance inland. Bayous, lakes and rivers can overflow their banks creating serious flood risks well away from the coast.

Aside from surge and tide impacts, widespread heavy rainfall associated with tropical cyclones may produce amounts in excess of 6 inches. Destructive and possibly deadly flooding may be the result. Even after the storm has passed, water runoff can bulge rivers and streams elevating the flood threat days later.

No matter the strength of the storm, torrential rain is a threat in every tropical cyclone. Specific amounts depend on a cyclone's speed and size as well as the geography and geology of the area being affected. Slower, larger storms tend to generate more rainfall.

WBRZ.com will keep you updated, featuring additional information about tropical cyclones through Hurricane Preparedness Week. You can get much more by also visiting www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/

Remember to check out our special, "Weathering the Storm," airing on WBRZ Sunday, June 1st from 6 - 7pm.

You can get forecasts from Meteorologist Josh Eachus weekdays on 2une-In from 5-7am and News 2 at Noon from 12-1pm. Additionally, you can get the fastest and latest forecasts and weather news by checking in with wbrz.com/weather, liking Josh on Facebook and following him on Twitter.

Top Stories