Hurricane Week: Running from the water

Posted at 10:34 PM, May 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-24 23:34:32-04

From storm surge to inland rain, water is hands down the biggest cause of fatalities.

"Storm surge causes 50% of fatalities in tropical systems, inland flooding another 25% and if you take offshore into account it’s almost 90% of fatalities is water," said Ken Graham the Director National Hurricane Center.

As the saying goes, "You run from the water, not the wind." In Louisiana we know water well, along the coast we know it with storm surge.

The shallow continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico can lead to horrific storm surge, and one of the bigger threats along the coast line.

"Take out your driver’s license if it says Louisiana you might have a storm surge problem, storm surge can come up all the way to Baton Rouge worst case scenario," Jamie Rhome, NHC Storm Surge Specialist.

While storm surge often gets many of the headlines, there’s another big threat that we in Acadiana are all to familiar with.
"The inland flooding threat is a real danger," said David Novak, WPC Director.

Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and the damage caused to Houston became the poster child for the threat from inland flooding, but here in Acadiana we’ve known those effects for years. The 2016 flood being the prime example of the problems caused by water regardless of a tropical system.

The threat of water is being better communicated. New storm surge products have been issued by the NHC and despite a historic 2017 season, there was no loss of life due to storm surge in the United States. There is, however, still a long way to go.

"Insurance is the first line of defense whether you’re a homeowner, or business owner or elected official in charge of infrastructure insurance can kickstart recovery quicker," said Brock Long, FEMA Administrator. 

Flood insurance should be a vital part of your prepardness plan because, as 2016 showed, if it can rain, it can flood.