National Hurricane Center releases interactive storm surge map

National Hurricane Center releases interactive storm surge map

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A new tool from the National Hurricane Center shows the worst case scenario risk of storm surge from Texas to Maine.

The hurricane center launched an interactive map Tuesday, allowing residents along the East and Gulf coasts to evaluate their vulnerability to storm surge by showing how far inland the water can reach during a variety of hurricane scenarios.

Storm surge is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm, over and above the predicted astronomical tide.

The hurricane center rolled out the interactive map after an experimental period through much of the 2014 hurricane season. It allows residents on the Gulf and East coasts to evaluate their vulnerability to storm surge showing how far inland could reach in the worst case scenario of a storm coming in during high tide at varying intensities.

According to the hurricane center, storm surge is responsible for about half of all tropical weather-related deaths in the U.S.

Hurricane center officials say roughly 22 million U.S. residents are vulnerable to storm surge, especially in Florida where about 40 percent of residents are at risk of flooding.

Southeast North Carolina is no stranger to tropical activity, most recently, a close brush from Hurricane Arthur in July. In the worst case scenario of a category one hurricane, mainly coastal area and low-lying areas around rivers and creeks would have higher than normal waters.

In the instance of a category three hurricane, the beaches of Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties would see inundation of nine feet above ground level. Battleship Park would also be under six to nine feet of water.

For a category five hurricane, most of southern New Hanover county would be under nine feet or greater storm surge inundation.

This map only show the possibility of the worst case scenario, not including wave action on top of the storm surge, which could be greater.

Director Rick Knabb says the map should prompt coastal residents to determine whether they live in evacuation zones and to make emergency plans.

Each storm is different, bringing different conditions. Stay with the WECT First Alert Weather Team to get all the details of impending tropical systems and their impacts for southeast North Carolina.

To see the interactive map, click here:

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