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Hurricane Advisories Will Now Include Storm Serge Alerts

As the people of New Orleans, New Jersey and New York know all too well, much of the death and damage caused by hurricanes isn't from the wind. It's from the storm surge...
April 9, 2015

As the people of New Orleans, New Jersey and New York know all too well, much of the death and damage caused by hurricanes isn't from the wind. It's from the storm surge.

When the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1, people living along the coast of the U.S. mainland are going to get a new set of alerts from the National Hurricane Center in Miami. In addition to tropical storm and hurricane warning and watches, the center will post storm surge alerts for any location where water might rise at least 3 feet (91 centimeters) above normal, said Jamie Rhome, team leader of the center's Storm Surge Unit.

"Roughly 50 percent of the lives lost" to tropical weather "are because of storm surge," Rhome said in an interview at the National Hurricane Conference in Austin, Texas. More than 1,500 people died when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana in 2005, and many of those deaths were attributed to surge up to 19 feet high in the New Orleans area, according to the center. In Sandy, surge overtopped Manhattan's Battery and sent seawater into subways, cellars and tunnels, blacking out parts of the island. Surge destroyed homes and businesses from Queens to the New Jersey coast as the destructive storm swept ashore.

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