National Hurricane Center making hurricane hazards easier to understand

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Nearly half of all deaths during tropical storms and hurricanes are a result of storm surge, not the wind. That’s why the National Hurricane Center is focusing several new graphics on this deadly and destructive force.

One graphic called the potential storm surge flood map, becomes officially available this year.

“It tells you how high above ground in that community could the water get due to storm surge flooding,” said Dr. Rick Knabb, director at the National Hurricane Center.

A new storm surge flood map will be created and updated for each storm as soon as tropical storm or hurricane watches are issued.

“What’s the ultimate goal here? It is to increase the chances that the public will evacuate when their emergency manager tells them to do so. So hopefully people will see this and say ok, I get it,” Knabb said.

The Hurricane Center isn’t stopping there.

They’re currently working on several prototype graphics, which they hope will be ready for prime time next season. One is a storm surge watch and warning map that will better highlight areas at risk for storm surge. Their focus isn’t only on storm surge. Another prototype looks to give people a heads up on the timing of strong winds.

“We wanted to write a tool that explains what’s the reasonable earliest time that the winds of tropical storm force could arrive, so people have a target for when they need to get their preparations done,” Knabb said.

He expects testing on that to continue into at least 2017. Click here to go directly to the National Hurricane Center’s website.

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