Water not wind, causes most damage during storm

National Hurricane Center creates new maps showing storm surge

ORLANDO, Fla. – The National Hurricane Center has created a new potential storm surge flooding maps that will be used to alert people where water may be heading during a storm.

The maps are separate from wind warnings.

Superstorm Sandy came ashore in the northeast in 2012 with hurricaneforce winds, but storm surge caught everyone off-guard. The storm caused an estimated $75 billion in property damage.

The National Hurricane Center hopes a new storm surge forecasting and color-coded maps will help educate people during hurricane season.

“We’ve gone through a long and careful process to design the graphic all the way down to the colors and the labeling,” Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center said.

“We’ve gone through exercises with our emergency management partners on how they would use it for decision making.”

The map to the right is an example that shows the potential storm surge threat to Fort Myers and Sanibel Island.

  • ​Red indicates where forecasters believe there will be more than 9 feet of water.
  • Gold indicates more than 6 feet.
  • Yellow indicates more than 3 feet.
  • Blue indicates up to 3 feet.

If a storm threatens central Florida, News 6 will be able to show a similar forecast.

Forecasters hope the new visual maps will be enough to get people out of harm’s way.

The maps won’t be completely operational until 2017, they will in use this season.

Even if you don’t live on the coast, storm surge is still a risk. Water can and will rush inland for several miles.