Friday, April 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

Hurricane storm surge proves deadly

When hurricanes threaten, talk invariably turns to wind speed.

But it is important to remember the real danger is storm surge.

As Superstorm Sandy reminded us as it hit the New Jersey coast last season, the impact of fast-moving and powerful seawater is deadly.

Storm surge is created when a hurricane or tropical storm pushes seawater toward the coast.

Because the water offshore in Gulf of Mexico is very shallow, storm surge could be higher here than any other region on the U.S. coast.

It is difficult to understand what a threat this could be to Tampa Bay.

Weather experts are reviewing a new type of surge warning.

I was recently invited to take part in a focus group of meteorologists on the idea of a storm surge warning.

Although I'm not in favor of more clutter, more watches and warnings, I do think we need to do something to bring attention to the risk from water, not just wind.

The warning would not be used this hurricane season, but may be in later years.

Much of the problem with storm surge is a people issue.

Evacuating areas vulnerable to surge flooding and building coastal structures to withstand the surge would go a long way toward saving lives and mitigating property losses.

But we have to get the word out with an accurate forecast and you have to know what to do even if a storm develops quickly.

As we learned during Tropical Storm Debby in 2012, there are many threats from tropical systems.

We will be there for you in this upcoming hurricane season with our Klystron 9 radar, technology that is still the most advanced of any television station.

As our viewers found out during the tornadoes spawned by Debby, having live radar and watching storms nonstop can save lives.

Experience matters during tropical threats, our team of meteorologists will be there for you with our tropical updates through November.

   
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