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Storm surge: What is it?

Posted at 8:53 PM, May 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-01 17:20:27-04

SOUTHWEST, Fla.  — The greatest danger from tropical storms or hurricanes isn't wind or rain.

It's storm surge, and it's to blame for almost half of the lives lost during a storm.

Storm surge happens when the seawater level rises during a storm.

Wind from the storm pushes water onshore.

Combine that with tide cycles, and water can rise 20 feet or more.

That high level of water can cause extensive damage to homes.

Because Southwest Florida has a shallow continental shelf, it allows for more water to come on shore - ultimately making it more susceptible to storm surge.

If you live along the coast or even a few miles inland, you can be affected by storm surge.

That's why responding to evacuation orders as quickly as possible is important.

There are five evacuation zones in Southwest Florida, and they're labeled from "A" to "E".

To find your zone, enter your zip code on the map at the bottom of this page.

If you evacuate, plan where to go and how you'll get there.


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