Here's why Hurricane Michael's storm surge will likely be disastrous

Storm surges can be deadly, but those spawned by Hurricane Michael could be catastrophic."Watch the o...

Posted: Oct 10, 2018 11:53 PM
Updated: Oct 10, 2018 11:53 PM

Storm surges can be deadly, but those spawned by Hurricane Michael could be catastrophic.

"Watch the ocean rise 13 feet, with devastating wave action," said Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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A storm surge happens when winds from a fierce storm push water up and onto shore. Heightened walls of water come crashing down, swallowing everything in their path.

That onslaught of water can destroy houses, flood cities and kill indiscriminately.

"Half of the fatalities in these tropical systems occur with the storm surge," said Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center.

And the stronger the storm, the higher the surge will be. That's bad news for people in Michael's path, since the hurricane crashed into Florida as a Category 4 monster.

Long said the threat of dangerous storm surge is a primary reason for ordering evacuations.

"This is nothing to play around with," Long said. "Those who stick around and experience storm surge are less likely to live to tell about it."

After the ocean water crashes onto land, it can cause more nightmares. Rivers and streams that typically drain into the ocean can get clogged farther upstream, forcing water levels to rise. That leads to more flooding in rain-soaked areas.

And due to climate change, storm surge has become an even greater threat in recent years.

"Sea levels have risen in most places by about 1 foot over the past century," CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said. "The higher baseline ocean level allows storm surges to reach even higher, increasing their destructive capabilities."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 70930

Reported Deaths: 2043
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5803124
DeSoto379632
Harrison266336
Madison250372
Jackson241147
Rankin233738
Jones194562
Forrest186557
Washington173945
Lee161042
Lauderdale145894
Neshoba130994
Lamar124616
Bolivar116737
Warren115136
Oktibbeha114539
Lowndes111440
Panola109618
Sunflower108628
Lafayette102520
Scott101720
Copiah97329
Leflore96368
Pike96037
Holmes92849
Yazoo87413
Pontotoc8669
Grenada86126
Lincoln84943
Monroe83955
Simpson82231
Leake80427
Coahoma79813
Wayne79021
Tate75330
Marshall74010
Union73217
Marion69221
Adams64726
Covington64115
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George6059
Pearl River57140
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Smith41513
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Clay40614
Itawamba40410
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Clarke35528
Montgomery3467
Lawrence3328
Yalobusha31810
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Quitman2751
Carroll26311
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Webster25013
Perry2498
Jefferson Davis2436
Amite2426
Kemper24114
Wilkinson22714
Stone2256
Sharkey2097
Jefferson1977
Benton1571
Choctaw1384
Franklin1372
Issaquena272
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 102196

Reported Deaths: 1825
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13578262
Mobile10747221
Montgomery6999153
Madison555035
Tuscaloosa435080
Unassigned406169
Baldwin374429
Shelby338137
Marshall320738
Lee273647
Morgan244320
Etowah220934
DeKalb186614
Calhoun185319
Elmore178339
Walker156265
Houston145913
Limestone139313
Russell13912
St. Clair138120
Dallas134825
Franklin131022
Cullman124612
Colbert123218
Lauderdale121320
Autauga119622
Escambia109417
Talladega108714
Jackson10794
Tallapoosa87879
Dale85629
Chambers84838
Blount8355
Chilton8309
Clarke82710
Coffee7816
Butler77536
Covington75521
Pike7167
Marion59226
Barbour5866
Lowndes57524
Marengo57217
Bullock49311
Hale48726
Bibb4575
Winston45611
Washington45313
Perry4484
Wilcox44510
Monroe4256
Pickens41310
Randolph40411
Conecuh39710
Sumter37019
Lawrence3603
Macon34414
Crenshaw3338
Choctaw29012
Cherokee2888
Clay2785
Geneva2692
Henry2683
Greene25511
Lamar2372
Fayette2275
Cleburne1301
Coosa1063
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