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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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2020 STORM NAMES

ArthurLaura
BerthaMarco
CristobalNana
Dolly Omar
Edouard Paulette
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Gonzalo Sally
Hanna Teddy
Isaias Vickie
Josephine Wilfred
Kyle


HURRICANE TERMS TO KNOW

Tropical Storm WATCH: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified coastal area within 48 hours.

Tropical Storm WARNING: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected within the specified coastal area within 36 hours.

Hurricane WATCH: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible somewhere within the specified coastal area. A hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

Hurricane WARNING: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified coastal area. A hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.