Each season, improvements are made to the way hurricanes are forecast. This year, there is a major change in the way storm surge will be forecast.
We are all too familiar with storm surge here in Southwest Louisiana. As Hurricane Ike proved, it does not take a direct hit to cause major problems.
I recently spoke with officials from the National Hurricane Center about storm surge and how Hurricane Ike forced changes.
"Ike really showed us that we needed to make some changes with the way we communicate storm surge and so we've been at it for six years," said Jamie Rhome, the lead of the NHC storm surge team. "This year is the endpoint, the point when the public finally gets to see what we've been working on."
These changes include new graphics that will be released about two days before a storm makes landfall. Rhome said these new maps will display two important things.
"One, it will show how deep the water will be above ground and how far inland the water could go," he said.
The maps will have areas color-coded according to how much storm surge they are expected to receive.
"The new way is very simple, if you're colored on a map that means you've got the potential of storm surge coming into your neighborhood," Rhome said.
Dr. Rick Knabb, NHC director, said you won't need to know your elevation to understand these new graphics.
"Here's what's so good about the new potential storm surge flooding graphic, you don't need to know your elevation to interpret the graphic," Knabb said. "Because it will convey what the potential storm surge is above ground level where you live."
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