LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Close your eyes, when you think of a hurricane, what do you see?
Most people see wind, storm surge, or debris. These are all impacts from a hurricane, but it is the one people think of the least that’s impacting the most lives.
“The data is very clear, it’s water that’s killing people," said Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center. "In the last three years, eighty-three percent of the fatalities are inland water, over half in cars. Just because you’re not on the coast doesn’t mean you’re immune to the dangers. You have to be ready for the high water. Are you near a river? Know that risk.”
To find out the risks in your area, click on the parish in which you live:
If you parish does not have a link, it is because they do not have any information available online according to this document.
Once your threats have been identified, think again and assess your risk due to a flooding rainfalls because, in just the last two years, four states have reached new rainfall records because of hurricanes. One of those records was set for Texas during Hurricane Harvey.
The numbers speak for themselves, “In 2016, eighty-three percent of the fatalities in tropical systems was from water, ninety-one percent in 2017 and sixty-nine percent in 2018," said Graham.
Water is responsible for the most deaths , but only 4 percent of those fatalities are from storm surge.
The Weather Prediction Center releases daily excessive rainfall forecasts to help alert people to the threat of inland flooding. The scale ranges from Marginal, a 5-10 percent chance of flash flooding, Slight, a 10-20 percent chance, Moderate, a 20-50 percent chance, and High, a greater than 50 percent chance.
“Fifty-four percent of the high risk days have a least one fatality or injury and seventy-three percent have at least a million dollars of damage," said Graham.
Lots of people have a false sense of security based on previous experiences.
“I always tell people it’s so critical, I mean it becomes a little cliché to say it only takes one, but that’s real," said Graham. "If there’s one hurricane on earth and it impacts your area, then it’s a busy season. Prepare as if you’re going to be hit every year.”
“We can get ahead of that and declare a disaster so then we can then start pre-positioning people and equipment but also call for evacuations whether they’re voluntary or mandatory so that we can equip local government with what they need to respond," said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.
As many know, it’s not a matter of if, but when. Living in Southwest Louisiana, everyone must be prepared, no matter the size or category of the storm.