Storm surge is caused by the strong horizontal winds and low atmospheric pressure during a hurricane. These conditions create a water rise that can push onto land with damaging and sometimes deadly consequences. Historically, up to 90% of all fatalities have been from storm surge flooding. Typically, the stronger the winds blow in a hurricane, the higher the water will rise.
However, every storm is diff erent. Last year the National Hurricane Center created a case-by-case forecast for storm surge instead of equating it directly to wind speeds. During a strong surge water can flow up into the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, forcing fl ooding far inland. Follow these fl ooding tips to stay safe.
- If you can't see how high the water level is when driving, then turn around and find another route. It only takes two feet of water to sweep most vehicles off the road.
- If you have to drive, then tell people where you are going. This will give authorities an idea of your route in case you do get stuck.
- Slow down! Even a heavy rain shower can produce ponding on roadways and reduced visibility. A storm surge can create rapidly rising water that you may not see immediately.
- Plan an alternate route. If your path becomes impassable, then you
- should have a diff erent path ready to travel.
- Use your cell phone to contact emergency services.
- If a flood warning or flash flood warning is issued, then be prepared to seek higher ground, especially if you are near a stream or low-lying area.
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