Tropical Systems - Increasing Fatalities from "Invisible" Hazards

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29 May 2024 11:00 PM

New numbers released by the National Hurricane Center show that “Since 2013 we've seen more fatalities from surf and rip currents than we have for wind and storms”. Even though a hurricane may be occurring hundreds of miles away from your location it is important to remember the “hidden” hazards of tropical systems. Most often, rip currents and high surf take lives along the coastline, but they aren't the only invisible hazards of hurricanes and tropical storms.

When hurricanes are rated they are done so on wind speed with Category 5 hurricanes topping out with sustained winds over 157 mph. But winds only share one side of the story with storm threats including storm surge, flooding and severe weather not captured by the Saffir-Simpson scale. In fact, according to the National Weather Service Director, Ken Graham, “90% of fatalities occur from the water [and] Most of those are freshwater from heavy rain - 57%.” Half of the freshwater flooding deaths occur in cars.

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