Alabama Hurricane Awareness Week
...Storm Surge...

The goal of Hurricane Preparedness Week is to provide education

about the hazards associated with a hurricane which will prepare you

to take action as a hurricane approaches. This information may save

your life, at work, home, on the road, or on the water. Each day of

Hurricane Preparedness Week features a unique topic relevant to

education and awareness. Hurricane season officially runs from June

1st until November 30th for the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of



Today we will focus on storm surge and marine hazards associated

with land falling tropical systems. These hazards are not a major

concern for central Alabama since we are not directly adjacent to

The coast, however, thousands of people from the region travel to

popular ocean side destinations during the summer and fall seasons.

The greatest potential for the loss of life related to a hurricane

is from the storm surge.


Storm surge occurs when the powerful winds from a tropical system

push additional water towards the shoreline. The additional water

when combined with rising tides can increase the mean water level

inland 15 feet or more. This can cause severe flooding and

tremendous damage to structures located in proximity to the



Usually, the more intense the tropical system is, and the

closer an area is to the storm`s right-front quadrant the

more likely storm surge will occur. Under these conditions an

evacuation may be deemed necessary. To minimize to loss of life,

Emergency Management will make decisions concerning which areas will

need to be evacuated by designated routes. Personal safety should

always be the top priority, so always follow the directions and

orders of the local or state officials at your destination.


The following storm surge safety actions should be practiced when

traveling to coastal destinations during hurricane months:


Minimize the distance that you need to reach a safe location. The

further you drive, the higher the likelihood that you will encounter

significant traffic delays. This is especially true once an

evacuation order has been given. Map out a route that you will

follow. Do not get on the roadway without a planned route which

Should include evacuation routes that have been designated by



Choose a destination location ahead of time that will be outside of

the evacuation zone. If this location is with friends or

family members, it is a good idea to discuss your plan with them

while planning your vacation. You can also choose a hotel/motel or

a designated public shelter area outside of the vulnerable region.


Contact local officials in your destination city if you or any member

of your party may require special assistance in order to evacuate. Be

sure to do this ahead of time.


Once an evacuation order has been given, plan to leave as quickly as

possible. By waiting, you will greatly increase your chances of

being stuck in traffic, or even worse, not being able to leave the

area at all.


Always stay tuned to local media outlets or your NOAA weather radio

while traveling.

For additional historical or preparedness information, you can visit these sites on the World Wide Web:


National Weather Service Birmingham, Alabama


National Weather Service Mobile, Alabama


National Hurricane Center

Additional info from NHC




NOAA Coastal Services Center - historical hurricane tracks is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.