Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Caribou, ME
NOUS41 KCAR 200749
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CARIBOU ME
349 AM EDT WED JUL 20 2016
...HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS WEEK 2016...
STORM SURGE, WAVES, AND MARINE SAFETY
Storm surge is the deadliest hazard associated with hurricanes.
It is a rise in the sea level produced by water being pushed
toward the shore by the force of the winds within a storm.
Storm surge is not just a coastal event. In some areas, the
sea water can travel well inland with devastating consequences.
Storm surge is strongly influenced by a hurricane`s track, forward
motion, intensity and size. Changes in any of these storm
characteristics will significantly alter the amount of storm surge.
NOAA`s National Hurricane Center website has links to improve access
and understanding of its storm surge products and services. The
Storm Surge Products section includes a decision support tool that
will take visitors step-by-step through storm surge forecasts and
information as a storm moves toward land.
Along the Maine coast, the greatest threat of damage from storm
surge lies in the beach areas south of Portland and in the Penobscot
In addition to the speed and intensity of the hurricane, the
level of surge in a particular area is also determined by the
slope of the underwater topography and the shape of the coast
In northern New England, the greatest factor in determining
the effects of a storm surge is the timing of the surge with
respect to the astronomical tides. If the storm surge hits
at the time of low tide, little if any coastal flooding will
occur. If, however, the surge hits at high tide,
considerable coastal flooding, beach erosion, and other
damage is possible. Unfortunately, the exact timing of
landfall in northern New England is often difficult to
predict very far in advance, so plans should be made based on
the possibility the surge could strike at high tide.
Wave and current action associated with the tide also causes
extensive damage. Water weighs approximately 1700 pounds per
cubic yard, and extended pounding by frequent waves can
demolish any structure not specifically designed to withstand
such forces. Waves generated from distant or approaching
storms can also present a hazard to those who are near the
ocean. Strong rip currents can carry even strong swimmers
out to sea, and unexpected large waves can wash people from
Hurricanes have been the cause of many maritime disasters
and, unfortunately, there is no single rule of thumb that can
be used by mariners to ensure safe separation from a
hurricane at sea. In order to minimize risk, mariners should
allow for a large margin of error in the hurricane track and
For those with boats, it`s important to plan ahead. Know
exactly what you need to do and how long it will take you to
accomplish the necessary tasks. Keep in mind that others
will also be taking preparatory actions too, so leave
yourself additional time.
The 1938 hurricane that affected New England caused a
10 to 12 ft storm surge in Narragansett and Buzzards Bay.
FACT FOR THE DAY: The location with the greatest potential
for storm surge along the northern New England coast is the
Penobscot River near Bangor, Maine. Computer model estimates
indicate that the funneling effect of the Penobscot Bay and
River could lead to a 23 foot tide for a Category 3 hurricane
moving north at 40 mph.
Now is the time to prepare for Hurricanes and Tropical Storms: