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What Hurts More - Wind or Water? - Part Two

Continuing forward from the previous post; it may come as a surprise but according to research and survey conducted by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, many people living in areas vulnerable to storm surges feel that they are at greater danger from winds and floods. Perhaps, this could be because of the fact that wind and flood related fatalities occur more commonly than storm surge related deaths and hence tend to remain in the collective consciousness. Also, wind damage can reach a person’s home where he is liable to suffer from property damage if hurricane shutters are not installed.

Even counties that may be facing category 5 hurricane damage are sometimes not prepared to accept that a storm surge is their worst enemy. In the absence of information, storm preparedness takes a hit at every level. Be it negligence in putting up storm shutters or building homes on higher ground or the state municipality not cleaning the waterways so that there is sufficient depth to accommodate excess water from rains. People also tend to get confused between storm surges and tsunamis. Tsunamis are waves caused by earthquakes that occur under sea; they can happen any time. A storm surge is different. It occurs only during storm season.

It is also important to know that the damage caused by storm tides can far exceed that caused by storm surges. A storm tide is a storm surge that rides a high tide and travels with great speed inland. A storm tide often catches boatmen and swimmers unawares. It also harms the esturine and riverine flora and fauna by interfering with the breeding cycle of animals and altering the salinity content of the water. If a storm surge can create 30-foot walls of water in a huge hurricane, one can only imagine what a storm tide will be like. The water moves in at astonishing speeds and people that underestimate it pay with their lives.

In conclusion, it can be said with fairness that water possesses the potential to do more damage as it moves towards the shore being pushed by mad winds.