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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Why Storm Surges Are So Dangerous

9/10/2019 (Permalink)

Storm surge send waves crashing into homes Storm surges have the ability to take out your car, your home and your life.

The center of Hurricane Dorian made landfall at 8:35 a.m. on Friday September 6, 2018 over Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, with maximum sustained winds near 90 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Overnight, the storm hit parts of North Carolina and Virginia with rain, storm surges and strong winds as it brushed up against the coast as a Category 1 Hurricane. So what defines a storm surge and why are they so dangerous?

A Storm Surge is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm, over and above the predicted astronomical tide. It’s the change in the water level that is due to the presence of the storm.

A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, somewhere within an area within the next 36 hours. It means that moderate to major tidal flooding is expected. Low-lying roadways will be inundated and become impassible. Homes and businesses are at risk of being flooded or destroyed. Lives are 100% at risk.

While it can be confused as such, a storm surge is not a wall of water that rushes in onto the shore. It is typically a rise of water which often happens quickly, moving at the same rate as the forward speed of a hurricane.  

Surges are very powerful!! Only 1 cubic yard of sea water weighs 1,728 pounds. A 6-inch surge can knock a person down. It can and will take out and destroy things in its path due to either force and/ or a combination of force and pressure from flood water. 

Storm surges kill more people in a hurricane than any other components of the storm. It is for this reason alone that it is always encouraged to evacuate from areas along the shore, or from smaller islands where there isn’t much inland area to seek what’ll remain as dry land. The overwhelming majority of deaths which are in part of the 10 deadliest U.S. landfalling hurricanes were the result of storm surge alone.

Get away from storm surges. Your life, your families lives, your pets lives depend on it. It isn’t worth the risk to take your chances and stay behind. Especially when evacuation orders are in place. While yes, meteorologists can predict wrong, it’s often only due to how unpredictable these storms can sometimes be. Safety and evacuation measures should be taken and obeyed though as it’s not recommended to gamble with your life. First responders lives are then also placed directly in jeopardy when having to go in to rescue those who choose to “ride out the storm” by not evacuating. A surge 1 foot deep can take a car off a road. Getting out early is key because the surge can begin up to 24 hours before the storm makes landfall.

Storm surges are going to cause flooding to your home whether you are in it or not. Again it is best to evacuate and in a timely manner. Once it is deemed safe to return to your home, it is then that SERVPRO is here to assist. We are here to assist not only with flooding due to storm surge or lots of rainfall, but also with storm damage resulting from high winds. Give SERVPRO of Kernersville a call 24/7 at 336-379-1772 and if we are not nearby, we will be able to connect you with a SERVPRO in your direct area. 

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