Beware the Storm Surge!
Storm surge and large waves produced by hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property along the coast. What is “Storm Surge?” Storm surge and large waves produced by hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property along the coast. Storm Surge is 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. It is important to not confuse “storm surge” with “storm tide.” Storm Tide is the water level rise during a storm due to the combination of storm surge and the astronomical tide. The destructive power of storm surge and large battering waves can result in loss of life, buildings destroyed, beach and dune erosion and road and bridge damage along the coast.
Storm surge can travel several miles inland. In estuaries and bayous, salt water intrusion endangers public health and the natural environment. What Impacts Storm Surge? Storm surge is produced by water being pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds moving in a cyclon around the storm. The impact on surge of the low pressure associated with intense storms is minimal in comparison to the water being forced toward the shore by the wind. The maximum potential storm surge for a particular location depends on a number of different factors. Storm surge is a very complex phenomenon because it is sensitive to the slightest changes in storm intensity, forward speed, size (radius of maximum winds-RMW), angle of approach to the coast, central pressure (minimal contribution in comparison to the wind), and the shape and characteristics of coastal features such as bays and estuaries.
Other factors which can impact storm surge are the width and slope of the continental shelf. A shallow slope will potentially produce a greater storm surge than a steep shelf. For example, a Category 4 storm hitting the Louisiana coastline, which has a very wide and shallow continental shelf, may produce a 20-foot storm surge, while the same hurricane in a place like Miami Beach, Florida, where the continental shelf drops off very quickly, might see an 8 or 9-foot surge. Hurricanes are no joking matter, as residents of a hurricane hot spot and veterans to flooding areas, we know this all too well. Remember to get your free quote from Elzey Insurance today!