For those along the Gulf Coast, there is an old adage when it comes to hurricane season. That timely bit of advice is this. "Hide from the wind, run from the water", the National Hurricane Center's new forecast product seems to agree with that mentality.

One of the more deadly and damaging aspects of a landfalling tropical cyclone is storm surge. While that is often mentioned by meteorologist well ahead of the storm. The general public sometimes isn't clear as to where and when the deadly rise of water will occur.

NHC Storm Surge Specialist Jamie Rhome told the Louisiana Radio Network,

In the event that we think life-threatening conditions are possible within an area, we would issue a warning which would say, life-threatening conditions are possible within this area and take appropriate action.

In most cases that appropriate action would be to evacuate, especially in the low-lying areas of coastal Louisiana.

The storm surge warnings would hopefully give residents of a given area a 48-hour head start on their evacuation plans. A warning would mean that foresters believe that life-threatening surge conditions are likely within the next 36 hours. Those extra hours could mean the difference between life and death.

So residents now, instead of asking why am I being asked to evacuate, there would be an explicit warning from the weather service stating that life-threatening conditions are possible in an area.

The Hurricane Center hopes to customize these warnings in such a way that even inland residents will be able to better understand the effects of storm surge. The product will be customized for the strength of each storm and for the topography of coast that is most likely to be affected.

If the threat only goes one mile inland or if the threat goes 20 miles inland, the watch and warning system is flexible to handle that.

The Atlantic Hurricane season will begin on June 1st and run through November 30th. Let us hope that this new life-saving product from the Hurricane Center will not have to be used anytime soon.



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