National Hurricane Center to Issue Surge Warnings
Beginning in 2015, the National Hurricane Center will be experimenting with a new weather advisory system that it intends will become fully operational by 2017. The new system will include publishing storm surge watches and warnings independently of those associated with wind damage. The advisories will include maps in which areas marked in red are those where a danger of life-threatening rising water exists, generally over the ensuing 36 hours. Areas marked in yellow will be those where life-threatening rising water is possible, generally in the following 48 hours.
Two primary factors contribute to the National Hurricane Center’s desire to provide storm surge information separately from wind warnings and watches. First, areas that are susceptible to storm surge and flooding might not always align with those where wind damage is expected. This can lead to a false sense of security among citizens who are not faced with substantial wind risk but who later experience flooding. Second, there is often a time lag between the threat of wind and the flooding that follows. Citizens in affected areas sometimes perceive that the threat is over when the wind event passes, and the new system is designed to highlight the continuing risk that might exist in the following days.