Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Caribou, ME

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PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CARIBOU ME
1120 AM EDT WED JUL 16 2014

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICES IN NEW ENGLAND HAVE DECLARED
THE WEEK OF JULY 14TH THROUGH 18TH HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS WEEK. THIS
IS THE THIRD IN A SERIES OF FIVE PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENTS TO
BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN CARIBOU,
CONTAINING INFORMATION ON HURRICANES AND HURRICANE SAFETY.

STORM SURGE, WAVES, AND MARINE SAFETY

ALONG THE COAST, STORM SURGE IS OFTEN THE GREATEST THREAT TO LIFE
AND PROPERTY FROM A HURRICANE. IN THE PAST, LARGE DEATH TOLLS HAVE
RESULTED FROM THE RISE OF THE OCEAN ASSOCIATED WITH MANY OF THE
MAJOR HURRICANES THAT HAVE MADE LANDFALL. HURRICANE KATRINA (2005)
IS A PRIME EXAMPLE OF THE DAMAGE AND DEVASTATION THAT CAN BE CAUSED
BY SURGE. AT LEAST 1500 PEOPLE LOST THEIR LIVES DURING KATRINA AND
MANY OF THOSE DEATHS OCCURRED, BOTH DIRECTLY AND INDIRECTLY, AS A
RESULT OF STORM SURGE.

STORM SURGE IS A LARGE DOME OF WATER THAT IS PUSHED TOWARD THE SHORE
BY THE FORCE OF THE WINDS CIRCULATING AROUND THE STORM. THIS RISE IN
WATER LEVELS CAN CAUSE EXTREME FLOODING IN COASTAL AREAS,
PARTICULARLY WHEN STORM SURGE COINCIDES WITH THE NORMAL HIGH TIDE.
THE ADVANCING SURGE COMBINES WITH THE NORMAL TIDES TO CREATE THE
HURRICANE STORM TIDE, WHICH CAN INCREASE THE MEAN WATER LEVEL BY 15
FEET OR MORE. THE GREATEST STORM SURGE GENERALLY OCCURS JUST TO THE
RIGHT OF THE STORM`S TRACK, PERPENDICULAR TO THE COAST. IN ADDITION
TO THE SURGE, WIND-DRIVEN WAVES IN THAT AREA CAN ALSO CAUSE
CONSIDERABLE DAMAGE TO STRUCTURES.

IN NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND, THE GREATEST FACTOR IN DETERMINING THE
EFFECTS OF 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. HOWEVER, IF 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 THAT THE SURGE COULD STRIKE AT HIGH TIDE.

THE MAXIMUM POTENTIAL STORM SURGE FOR A PARTICULAR LOCATION DEPENDS
ON MANY OTHER FACTORS IN ADDITION TO THE ASTRONOMICAL TIDES. STORM
SURGE IS A VERY COMPLEX PHENOMENON BECAUSE IT IS SENSITIVE TO THE
SLIGHTEST CHANGES IN STORM INTENSITY, SPEED, AND SIZE. IN ADDITION,
THE LEVEL OF SURGE IN A PARTICULAR AREA IS ALSO DETERMINED BY THE
SLOPE OF THE UNDERWATER TOPOGRAPHY AND THE SHAPE OF THE COAST LINE.
A SHALLOW SLOPE AND THE FUNNELING EFFECTS OF A BAY WILL CONTRIBUTE
TO A GREATER SURGE. STORM TIDES, WAVES, AND CURRENTS IN CONFINED
HARBORS CAN SEVERELY DAMAGE SHIPS, MARINAS, AND PLEASURE BOATS.
AREAS WITH A STEEPER CONTINENTAL SHELF WILL NOT SEE AS MUCH SURGE,
ALTHOUGH LARGE BREAKING WAVES CAN STILL PRESENT MAJOR PROBLEMS.
ALONG THE MAINE COAST, THE GREATEST THREAT OF DAMAGE FROM STORM
SURGE LIES IN THE BEACH AREAS SOUTH OF PORTLAND AND IN PENOBSCOT
BAY.

WAVE AND CURRENT ACTION ASSOCIATED WITH THE TIDE ALSO CAUSES
EXTENSIVE DAMAGE. WATER WEIGHS APPROXIMATELY 1700 POUNDS PER CUBIC
YARD, AND PROLONGED 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 ROCKS.

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 INTENSITY FORECASTS. TODAY, EVEN AS OUR
UNDERSTANDING OF AND ABILITY TO FORECAST HURRICANES INCREASES, THERE
IS STILL CONSIDERABLE ERROR IN FORECASTING THE MOVEMENT AND
INTENSITY OF THESE SYSTEMS.

AVERAGE ERRORS IN THE HURRICANE TRACK FORECAST INCREASE CONSIDERABLY
AS THE FORECAST PROJECTION INCREASES. THE FOLLOWING LIST GIVES THE
AVERAGE ERRORS OF HURRICANE FORECASTS FOR THE 5-YEAR PERIOD FROM
2006 TO 2010. NOTE THAT THE ERRORS FOR STORMS IN NORTHERN NEW
ENGLAND ARE LIKELY GREATER THAN THESE "AVERAGE" VALUES DUE TO THE
ACCELERATION THAT OFTEN OCCURS SOUTH OF NEW ENGLAND AND DUE TO THE
COMPARATIVELY FAST MOVEMENT OF THE STORMS IN NEW ENGLAND WATERS.

        FORECAST PROJECTION             AVERAGE ERROR
             12 HOURS                      36 N MI
             24 HOURS                      59 N MI
             48 HOURS                      98 N MI
             72 HOURS                     144 N MI
             96 HOURS                     190 N MI
            120 HOURS                     239 N MI

FOR THOSE PEOPLE WITH BOATS, IT`S IMPORTANT TO PLAN AHEAD TO 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.

IF YOU PLAN TO LEAVE YOUR BOAT IN THE WATER, CONSIDER THE POSSIBLE
EFFECTS OF THE STORM TIDE AND WAVES. MAKE SURE YOUR ANCHOR IS
SUFFICIENT TO HOLD THE BOAT, AND HAVE ENOUGH ANCHOR LINE TO ACCOUNT
FOR THE STORM TIDE. SECURE OR REMOVE ALL NON-PERMANENT EQUIPMENT
FROM THE DECK. NEVER TRY TO RIDE OUT THE STORM ON YOUR BOAT. YOU
WILL ENDANGER YOUR LIFE AND POSSIBLY THE LIVES OF THOSE WHO MUST
RESCUE YOU.

IF YOU ARE ABLE TO PUT YOUR BOAT ON A TRAILER, GET IT OUT OF THE
WATER EARLY. IF YOU WAIT TOO LONG, YOU MAY BE IN A LONG LINE. IF
POSSIBLE, STORE YOUR BOAT INSIDE A GARAGE. IF YOU LEAVE YOUR BOAT
OUTSIDE, PUT IT IN A SHELTERED LOCATION, AND SECURE IT TO STURDY
OBJECTS SUCH AS LARGE TREES.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: WHAT WAS THE GREATEST LOSS OF LIFE ASSOCIATED
WITH ANY STORM SURGE IN THE UNITED STATES?

WHILE NOT ALL THE DETAILS ARE KNOWN, THE CATEGORY 4 GALVESTON, TEXAS
HURRICANE OF SEPTEMBER 8, 1900, CAUSED THE GREATEST LOSS OF LIFE
FROM STORM SURGE. THIS WAS ALSO THE GREATEST LOSS OF LIFE IN THE
UNITED STATES FROM ANY WEATHER-RELATED DISASTER. THE HURRICANE
CREATED AN 8 TO 15 FOOT SURGE THAT INUNDATED ALL OF GALVESTON
ISLAND, AS WELL AS OTHER PORTIONS OF THE NEARBY TEXAS COAST. THIS
SURGE WAS LARGELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ESTIMATED 6,000 TO 12,000
DEATHS ATTRIBUTED TO THE STORM. THE DAMAGE TO PROPERTY WAS ESTIMATED
AT $30 MILLION.

FORTUNATELY, SATELLITES, COMPUTERS, ADVANCING SENSING AND PREDICTION
TECHNIQUES, AND BETTER COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS ALLOW METEOROLOGISTS TO
BETTER PREDICT AND WARN THE PUBLIC OF IMPENDING HURRICANES.

OTHER NOTABLE SURGES OCCURRED WITH HURRICANE IKE (18 FT), HURRICANE
ANDREW (17 FT), HURRICANE HUGO (20 FT), AND HURRICANE CAMILLE (25
FT). THE 1938 HURRICANE THAT AFFECTED NEW ENGLAND CAUSED A 10 TO 12
FOOT SURGE IN NARRAGANSETT AND BUZZARD BAYS.

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.

HERE`S A LIST OF TOPICS TO BE COVERED LATER THIS WEEK:
  THURSDAY - INLAND FLOODING
  FRIDAY - THE FORECAST PROCESS: STATEMENTS, WATCHES, AND WARNINGS

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT HURRICANES AND HURRICANE SAFETY,
VISIT THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER`S WEBSITE AT (ALL LOWER-CASE):

HTTP://WWW.NHC.NOAA.GOV


$$

HASTINGS











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