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Hurricane Center: The effects of storm surge on Acadiana

Posted at 6:05 AM, Jun 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-12 07:05:38-04

With the number of hazards that come with hurricanes, storm surge can be one of the deadliest. even communities far from the coast can be affected.

Flooding is the number one cause of death when it comes to landfalling hurricanes. We’ve learned over the years that when the tides come up, the water moves in.

Even on a sunny day with a brisk south wind, tides just a few feet above normal will flood LA 82 in Cameron Parish.

At Cypremort Point, the city sits at sea level. That means that any water rise from a potential storm would be how high the water would get. But that height doesn’t include the waves that come along with the wind.

A storm surge of 20 feet, similar to what we saw with hurricanes Rita and Ike, would put water to the tops of trees along the water’s edge.

Hurricane Rita’s storm surge flooding was significant in Delcambre. It prompted a number of homes to be raised over the years.

As coastal erosion continues and our natural buffers from storms diminish, flooding will become a bigger issue in the future. At just three feet above sea level, Delcambre could be inundated with 17 feet of water.

There’s a difference in New Iberia’s historic Main Street. The city’s elevation is about 15 feet. But with a 20-foot storm surge, residents could see five feet of water on Main Street. That doesn’t include anything that would come from Bayou Teche.

And in Franklin, residents could be treading in 11 feet of water under the lamp posts.

Each of these cities is within a few miles of the Gulf of Mexico. But what about Lake Arthur? Sitting over 30 miles from the coast, the wetlands between offer no protection. Lake Arthur at about 4-5 feet, would see over 15 feet of storm surge water coming up the Mermentau and through Grand Lake.