The Deadliest Part of Storms Miles Away from the Coastline…Inland Flooding

Tonight’s video from the National Hurricane Center shows why people even miles inland are not safe from hurricanes, and how you can protect your belongings:

Hurricanes and tropical storms are known as much for their extremely heavy rainfall as they are for their winds. In most cases, the deadliest storms are storms that are very slow moving. A phenomena called “training” occurs within the outer edges of well developed tropical cyclones, which occurs when rainfall overruns a certain area for hours to days at a time. Rainfall in tropical storms isn’t necessarily, but when rain falls in one location for a day at a time it adds up. In the case of Tropical Storm Allison more than 40 inches of rain fell near Houston, TX. Allison was both slow moving and intense, which combined to produce those rainfall totals. Allison, a tropical storm, killed 41 people and caused $9 billion in damage.

Although Allison’s impacts were felt mainly at the coast, tropical systems can produced flooding a thousand miles inland from its landfall point. In the case of Tropical Storm Erin in 2007, nearly a foot of rain fell as far north as Missouri. In some cases, hurricanes can be very beneficial in drought stricken areas, but can still cause flooding.

All 50 states have experienced rainfall from tropical cyclones, and many even in states where hurricanes have never been have experienced flooding. In this image from wikipedia, it shows the maximum amount of rainfall experienced from tropical cyclones:

TC rainfall

Last year, we found out that heavy SNOWFALL can also be a threat from hurricanes and hurricane-like systems. Hurricane Sandy sent snow flurrying as far inland as Ohio. More than 2 feet of snow fell in two states, and 36″ fell in West Virginia. This is not the norm, but snowfall is somewhat common in the later parts of hurricane season in November and in December.

As always, if you see a roadway flooded, turn around so that you do not drought. If you car lands in just a few inches of water, it can float down the street. And if winds are higher than 45 mph, Emergency Responders will not be able to come save you.  If you know heavy rainfall is on the way, you can opt to move your car to a second story garage or to higher ground.

Let’s Hope Hurricanes Don’t Float Your Boats (or Cars) This Season! 


Posted on Wednesday, May 29th, 2013, in Tropical Weather. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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