Hurricane Center to Launch Maps That will Predict Storm Surge, After Successful Tests on Outer Banks

Posted May 31, 2016

TNS) - The National Hurricane Center will launch storm surge inundation maps for the first time this summer, predicting where and how deep flooding will hit here and elsewhere.

Two years ago the maps were tested on the Outer Banks. Data from hundreds of hurricane forecast scenarios was fed into a supercomputer.

Hurricanes and tropical storms are measured according to wind speed. The new maps turn attention to flooding. Storm surge threats could be worsening as the ocean level rises and more people build on the coast, said Jamie Rhome, storm surge specialist with the National Hurricane Center.

“People have focused on wind,” Rhome said. “The world is awakening to storm surge.”

In the past 50 years, 2,544 people have died in Atlantic cyclones, according to the Miami-based center. The cause of death was determined in 2,325 of those deaths. Of the known causes, 90 percent were water-related and most were drownings. About half of the fatalities were caused by storm surge.

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