Hurricane preparedness week: the dangers of storm surge and what it is

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Posted at 4:58 AM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 07:26:22-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Storm surge is the number one cause of death during a hurricane. Hurricane preparedness week is May 9 -15 before the start of hurricane season June 1.

What is a storm surge exactly?

Think of storm surge as the water that a tropical storm or hurricane pushes onto land. If you’ve ever been in the bath tube or pool and you’ve moved your arm along the surface of the water and noticed the water pile up, that’s essentially what a tropical storm or hurricane does when it moves across the Gulf of Mexico. It pushes water onto the land.

Warning Coordination Meteorologist for National Weather Service Corpus Christi, Melissa Huffman said there are some areas that are more likely to flood based on elevation.

“Anywhere along the barrier island. So along Padre, along mustang island those areas will have increase vulnerability to storm surge they are facing the Gulf of Mexico. And the dunes are there to help to at least protect against some of that storm surge,” said Huffman

Huffman said there are areas around Corpus Christi that are vulnerable to coastal flooding and storm surge as well because they are lower lined.

Corpus Christi City Emergency Management Coordinator Billy Delgado said storm surges cause water to push up on land and that combined with strong winds makes for a dangerous situation. He said storm surged combined with a tropical storm or hurricane in the forecast can be deadly.

“Storm surge during a hurricane is the number one killer.We really encourage people to not come near the water or go to the beach to look at the storm surge because it could be dangerous,” said Delgado.

FEMA said to protect yourself and your home from storm surge you can reinforce your garage door and protect your windows and doors and elevate appliances and utilities above the floor.

To see the National Storm Surge Hazard Maps for the coastal bend that shows your risk for storm surge, visit their website here.