The Dangers of Storm Surge

In Florida, where MaintenX is headquartered, we have an annual hurricane season from June until November. Most people know the dangers of a hurricane, from 100+ mi/hr winds to collapsed roofing from fallen trees and power outages that can last for weeks. However, one danger often goes overlooked even by some long-time residents: storm surge. 


A storm surge is a natural event that occurs when a hurricane or tropical storm causes ocean waters to rise significantly above the predicted tide. Unlike a flood, a storm surge rises very quickly and then recedes back into the ocean. Think of it as the biggest wave you could imagine — up to 30 feet above sea level or more — coming in and flooding the streets of coastal areas. 


Storm surges are similar to tsunamis, but they do not have quite as much force because they are caused by pressure changes rather than earthquakes. These distinctions are important because storm surge causes a specific type of damage for buildings near the water. At your facility, you should not only be prepared for a storm surge but also understand how to tell if you’re in the danger zone. 


Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was one of the most damaging hurricanes in modern history, but it was only a category three when it hit. The reason it caused so much destruction was because of the storm surge. Katrina’s surge reached 28 feet above the normal tide, meaning that any building that was not at least 29 feet above sea level was impacted. In New Orleans, those were few and far between. 


It is also important to note that storm surges have speed as well as height. To put into perspective: six inches of storm surge is fast and powerful enough to knock over a standing adult. Two feet of water in a storm surge can begin to move cars on the street. 28 feet of storm surge can flatten buildings and drown individuals. It is never something to take lightly. 


Because of this, it is most important for those in a storm surge zone to evacuate before a hurricane approaches. If a storm is approaching  Find out today, well before a hurricane ever approaches, if you live in a storm surge evacuation zone. If so, always evacuate for a hurricane based on local recommendations rather than the category of the storm. Categories are based on wind speed, but even a Category 1 hurricane can cause storm surge. 


Even if your facility is not directly affected by storm surge, it could experience other dangerous conditions such as impassable roads, water and sewage problems, and power outages. If you do anything to prepare for a hurricane, always think of storm surge first. It is often the most deadly and most damaging aspect of a hurricane, and can cause severe damage to your building. 


If you need emergency repair services after a hurricane or tropical storm, MaintenX is here to help. We provide comprehensive repairs at an affordable price, so you can get back to business as soon as possible. Contact your local MaintenX today to learn more!

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