National Weather Service Debuts New Storm Surge Tool

Experimental map goes live June 1 and helps boat owners monitor predicted flooding of mooring fields and low lying areas of U.S. East and Gulf coasts in real time in advance of tropical cyclones.

Potential Storm Surge Map

Potential Storm Surge MapNational Hurricane Center / NOAA

Remember Super Storm Sandy? What boat owner on the U.S. East Coast doesn’t?

When Sandy made landfall in the U.S. in October 2012, it inflicted a historic $675 million in damages to the nation’s recreational boating industry, particularly marinas in low-lying areas from New York and New Jersey to Connecticut.

Surge from Sandy rose 10 feet or higher, in addition to waves of up to 4 feet, sending boats on the hard into each other, into buildings, and into coastal town and city streets. Boats left on moorings in the water fared slightly better depending on how well their owners prepared their tackle and whether or not other craft collided into them. Some boats on floating docks with pilings higher than the surge also managed to fare decently.

Given that surge is a topic that isn’t going away any time soon, coastal marine communities have no choice but to pay attention, and federal and state officials have wasted no time spreading the word, whether in the form of holding public forums or developing new tools to equip those on the waterfront with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions.

One example is the new Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map the National Weather Service's National Hurricane Center issues on June 1, 2014, the start of Atlantic Hurricane Season. The device, which is experimental for at least two years, uses different colors to show land areas where, based on the latest real-time forecast, storm surge could occur, and how high above ground the water may reach. The map can change every six hours with every new NHC advisory. To see the flooding map log on to the National Hurricane Center website.

For more details, click here.