PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HOUSTON/GALVESTON TX
833 AM CDT MON MAY 25 2009

...STORM SURGE...

SOME OF THE HAZARDS MOST EASILY IDENTIFIED WITH HURRICANES ARE STRONG
WINDS...TORNADOES...FLOODING AND STORM SURGE. OF THESE...STORM
SURGE AND HIGH WAVES ARE THE MOST DESTRUCTIVE TO COASTAL LOCATIONS
AND CAN CAUSE TREMENDOUS COASTAL EROSION. STORM SURGE IS SIMPLY WATER
THAT IS PUSHED TOWARD THE SHORE BY THE FORCE OF THE WINDS SWIRLING
AROUND THE STORM.

THIS SURGE COMBINES WITH THE NORMAL TIDES TO CREATE THE HURRICANE
STORM TIDE...WHICH CAN INCREASE THE MEAN WATER LEVEL 20 FEET OR MORE.
AN ADDITIONAL HAZARD ALSO FORMS AS WIND DRIVEN WAVES DEVELOP UPON THE
STORM TIDE. THIS RISE IN WATER LEVEL CAN CAUSE SEVERE FLOODING IN
COASTAL AREAS. BECAUSE MUCH OF THE DENSELY POPULATED ATLANTIC AND
GULF COAST COASTLINES LIE LESS THAN 10 FEET ABOVE MEAN SEA
LEVEL...THE DANGER FROM STORM TIDES CAN BE TREMENDOUS.

BECAUSE OF THE SHALLOW COASTAL WATERS OFF THE TEXAS COAST...STORM
SURGES WILL BE HIGHER FOR A TROPICAL STORM OR HURRICANE MAKING
LANDFALL VERSES THE SAME STORM HITTING OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY.
HISTORICALLY...STORM SURGE WAS THE MAJOR CAUSE OF DEATH FROM
HURRICANES. HOWEVER...IN THE UNITED STATES...IMPROVED NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE FORECASTS AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT EVACUATIONS HAVE
REDUCED THESE NUMBERS. THE POTENTIAL FOR LOSS OF LIFE AND PROPERTY
STILL REMAINS GREAT AND THIS POTENTIAL IS INCREASED WHEN WARNINGS AND
EVACUATION ORDERS ARE NOT HEEDED.

THE HEIGHT OF THE SURGE DEPENDS ON THE STRENGTH OF THE STORMS
WINDS...THE SIZE OF THE HURRICANE...THE SPEED OF THE STORMS
MOTION...AND THE ANGLE IT CROSSES THE COAST LINE. IN THE CASE OF
IKE...THE IMMENSE SIZE OF THE STORM CONTRIBUTED TO STORM SURGES
GREATER THAN 15 FEET OVER MUCH OF THE BOLIVAR PENINSULA...AND AREAS
EAST OF GALVESTON BAY...WITH 10 TO 13 FEET OF SURGE GENERALLY
OBSERVED ALONG GALVESTON ISLAND AND AREAS ALONG THE WESTERN SHORE OF
GALVESTON BAY. SOME NEGLECTED TO EVACUATE SINCE IKE WAS A CATEGORY 2
ON THE SAFFIR SIMPSON SCALE...BUT THIS SCALE IS A MEASURE OF WIND
AND NOT OF SURGE POTENTIAL...AND SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON TO GAUGE
THE SEVERITY OF OTHER HURRICANE HAZARDS SUCH AS SURGE.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING HURRICANES OR HURRICANE
PREPAREDNESS...PLEASE VISIT THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WEBSITE AT
WWW.SRH.NOAA.GOV/HGX

THIS MESSAGE WAS SENT AS PART OF HURRICANE AWARENESS WEEK...MAY 24TH
THROUGH MAY 30TH 2009.

$$

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