Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Portland, ME

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NOUS41 KGYX 200915

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.


When it comes to hurricanes, wind speeds do not tell the whole
story.  Hurricanes produce storm surges, tornadoes, and often

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

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:


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