HURRICANE CATEGORY SCALE FOR WINDS, NOT STORM SURGE!

2008 Category 2 Hurricane IKE had a much greater Storm Surge than 2004 Category 4 Hurricane CHARLEY


This year’s Hurricane ISAAC taught some residents of Louisiana and Mississippi some painful lessons about Storm Surge and Hurricane Categories. Although just a Category 1 hurricane, some of the flooding on the Mississippi Delta was worse than with Category 3 Katrina in 2005.

1. One of the reasons flooding cannot not be directly tied to the intensity of the hurricane is due to the shape of a coast line and varying underwater depths of an ocean or body of water.
2. Different storms approach a coast at different speeds and angles.
3. Since the degree of the storm surge cannot be tied directly to the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale, the Storm Surge was removed from the scale in 2010.

New approaches to ways of designating the storm surge threat are currently being designed. For now, the most important advise is for coastal residents and those in flood-prone areas is not to ignore evacuation orders from local officials.
Each hurricane is different. Sometimes past experience doesn’t always tell us all we need to know when a hurricane threatens. And remember, advisories are updated every 6 hours when a storm is not a threat to land. As a hurricane draws closer, advisories will be issued more frequently. Because of the importance of last minute changes in the storm. the advisories will be issued every 3 or 2 hours.

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