New storm surge warning in the works. - WFLA News Channel 8

Ntl. Weather Service in Ruskin testing new storm surge warning

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RUSKIN, FL (WFLA) -

The recent 20th anniversary of the Great March Storm was a reminder of the damage storm surge can cause.  Even though it wasn't a hurricane, or even a tropical storm....the water reached 12 feet in some areas along the coast.

Now the National Weather Service in Ruskin is testing a new storm surge warning system.  "The new storm surge warning and inundation graphics will better communicate the risks of storm surge to people in harm's way," said Daniel Noah, National Weather Service Meteorologist.

The agency plans to refine the experimental system over the next two years.

Up until now, the Weather Service has used wind speeds to categorize storms and hurricanes, but that hasn't always given a clear picture of a storm's risk.  "But what we've seen since Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Ike, and Hurricane Irene..and Hurricane Sandy along the East Coast..is that the surge is delivering more impact than the wind measurements that we've seen," said Brian LaMarre, National Weather Service Meteorologist.

The storm surge warning will give the public a better idea of when to evacuate their homes, according to LaMarre.  "Typically if you're in a storm surge zone you definitely want to evacuate, if you're out of the storm zone and you're experiencing high winds, typically you're safer taking shelter in place," said LaMarre. The public won't see the new storm surge alert system until 2015.

 

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