Irma’s 15-Foot Storm Surge Could Demolish 1,000 Miles Of Florida Coast: “It Will Cover Your House”

Sunday, September 10, 2017
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Sep 10, 2017

As we noted on Friday, sea-level analytics firm Climate Central had created a simulation based on the National Hurricane Center’s Coastal Emergency Risks Assessment storm surge and wave modeling that illustrated the devastating flooding in Miami that could result from Hurricane Irma’s storm surge. By overlaying the NHC data with a three-dimensional visual of the city obtained using Google maps, the firm created a realistic visual of what the city would look like under between seven and 11 feet of water.

Luckily, in the last minute the Hurricane shifted westward, but the concerns remain.

Given the expected intensity of the flooding, some readers might assume that the dreaded surge would be the result of tsunami-like waves overwhelming the city’s beaches. But that’s not the case. As the Associated Press explains, the hurricane-force winds draw in water not just form the ocean, but other nearby bodies of water as well. However, forecasters say surges kill more people than the strong winds.

As Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned, the surge “will cover your house.” Already, at least three Floridians have died in the Keys.

“It’s not a wall of water or a tsunami. Simply put, hurricane winds push water toward shore. It can happen quickly and far from a storm’s center, inundating areas that don’t typically flood.

Storm surge doesn’t just come from the ocean. It can come from sounds, bays and lakes, sometimes well inland.”

And with a category four Hurricane like Irma, the water can rise quickly, creating a potentially lethal surprise.

“Large hurricanes tend to create greater storm surge over a broader area, and coastal features such as bays can act like funnels and back water up into rivers and canals, said Jamie Rhome, head of the U.S. National Hurricane Center’s storm surge unit.

‘This is going to sneak up on people,’ Rhome said.”

But while the surge levels in Miami could be potentially life threatening, the threat to the Florida Keys, where Irma this morning made landfall at Cudjoe Key, is even more severe.

The National Hurricane Center forecasts water levels up to 15 feet (4 meters) above ground for the chain of islands and parts of the Gulf Coast, which are also expected to receive up to 25 inches of rain. And according to the Associated Press, the flooding threat could extend far beyond the path of Irma’s eye. The Atlantic coast from Miami to Isle of Palms, South Carolina, could see up to 6 feet (2 meters) of storm surge.

The Rest…HERE

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