Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Portland, ME

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000 NOUS41 KGYX 200915 PNSGYX Public Information Statement National Weather Service Gray ME 0515 AM EDT Thu Jul 20 2017 The National Weather Service has declared the week of July 17th through 21st, HURRICANE AWARENESS WEEK in New England. This is the fourth in a series of five public information statements to be issued by the National Weather Service Office in Gray, containing information on hurricanes and hurricane safety. INLAND FLOODING FROM TROPICAL STORMS AND HURRICANES When it comes to hurricanes, wind speeds do not tell the whole story. Hurricanes produce storm surges, tornadoes, and often most deadly of all, INLAND FRESHWATER FLOODING. While storm surge is always a potential threat with land-falling hurricanes, many more people have died from inland freshwater flooding. Inland flooding can be a major threat to communities hundreds of miles from the coast as heavy rain falls from these huge tropical air masses. In 2011, the flooding caused by tropical storms Irene and Lee caused considerable damage and 36 deaths in the mid Atlantic and New England States. In 2012, the remnants of Hurricane Sandy caused an estimated 73 deaths and an estimated $65 billion in damages, mostly due to coastal and inland flooding. Forty three years ago, in 1972, Hurricane Agnes produced floods in the Northeast United States which contributed to 122 deaths and $6.4 billion in damages. And in 1955, long after the winds from Hurricane Diane had subsided; the storm brought inland flooding to Pennsylvania, New York, and New England contributing to nearly 200 deaths and $4.2 billion in damages. Freshwater floods accounted for more than half of U.S. tropical cyclone deaths from 1975-2004 years and more than 75% of the children killed by tropical cyclones. Flooding is also the reason why 63% of U.S. tropical cyclone deaths during that period occurred in inland counties. At least 23% of U.S. tropical cyclone deaths are people who are attempting to drive through flooded roadways. Here in New England, tropical systems can combine with mid-latitude weather systems (extra-tropical) to produce very heavy rains and flooding, even when the hurricane or tropical storm remains well offshore. In 1996, a coastal storm that was supplied tropical moisture from the circulation around Hurricane Lili (well offshore) produced from 4 to 19 inches of rain across southern and central New Hampshire and southwestern Maine and was responsible for 1 drowning death. Here are some tips to protect you and your home from flooding. 1. Develop a flood emergency action plan. 2. Determine whether you live in a flood-prone area. 3. If flooding is possible, move valuable items from the basements or first floor to higher floors in your home. Have a checklist of these items in your emergency action plan. 4. Keep abreast of road conditions through the news media. Move to a safe area before access is cut off by flood water. 5. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. 6. Do not attempt to drive through a flooded roadway. If the roadway is flooded, turn around, don`t drown. Also, if you live in a flood-prone area, consider purchasing flood insurance. Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance policies. Do not make assumptions; check your policy. The National Flood Insurance Program, is a pre-disaster flood mitigation and insurance protection program. The National Flood Insurance Program makes federally-backed flood insurance available to residents and business owners in certain communities. QUESTION OF THE DAY: Do the strongest hurricanes produce the greatest rainfall amounts? The most important factor in determining the rainfall from a hurricane or tropical storm is the forward speed of the storm. A slow moving or stalled tropical storm can produce considerably more rainfall in a given area than a fast moving intense hurricane. Hurricane Andrew produced rainfall amounts of between 7 and 8 inches across the south Florida peninsula as it ravaged the area with strong winds during August 1992. In comparison, Tropical Storm Alberto dumped more than 27 inches of rain in Americus, Georgia (21 inches in 24 hours) when it struck during July of 1994. In 1979, Tropical Storm Claudette brought 45 inches of rain to an area near Alvin, Texas. FACT FOR THE DAY: Historically, storm surge had been the leading cause of death during hurricanes; however, improvements in forecasting and communication have allowed potential victims to evacuate from surge prone areas. These improvements have greatly reduced the number of storm surge deaths in the United States. As seen in the table below, freshwater flooding is by far the leading cause of death from tropical cyclones. Tropical Cyclone Deaths (1970-1999) Cause Percent Freshwater Flooding 59% Wind 12% Surf 11% Offshore 11% Tornadoes 4% Storm Surge 1% Other 2% Here`s a list of the other topics covered in statements issued this week: MONDAY - Tropical Cyclones, Tropical Storms, and Hurricanes--The Basics TUESDAY - Hurricane Winds and Tornadoes WEDNESDAY - Storm Surge and Marine Safety FRIDAY - The Forecast Process--Statements, Watches, and Warnings For additional information about hurricanes and hurricane safety, visit the National Hurricane Center`s web site at: $$ JENSENIUS NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAY...MAINE NNNN is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.