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North Carolina, Jones

Public Information Statement

Statement as of 6:32 AM EDT on May 25, 2015

... North Carolina hurricane preparedness week for 2015...

This week has been declared North Carolina's hurricane preparedness
week for 2015. All week long the National Weather Service will be
issuing informative messages to help you prepare for hurricane

Each day we will cover a different topic. Today we will talk about
storm surge which poses the greatest potential for loss of life
along the coast. We will also talk about marine safety.

Storm surge... put simply... is water that is pushed toward the
shore by the force of the swirling winds around a tropical storm
or hurricane. This advancing surge combines with tides to create
the hurricane storm tide... which can increase the mean water level
15 feet or more.

In general... the more intense the storm... and the closer the beach
front community is to the right front quadrant of the storm... the
larger the surge will be and larger the area that may have to
evacuate. This is because the storms strongest winds are located
in the right front quadrant and it is these strong winds that
drive the surge.

Storm surge in North Carolina is a problem for everyone owning
property along the coast. Also... areas along the Pamlico and
Albemarle sounds are vulnerable to storm surge. During Hurricane
Irene in 2011 areas along the Pamlico Sound including the lower
reaches of the Neuse and Pamlico rivers experienced storm surge
of 8 to 11 feet with inundation above ground level as high
as 8 feet in some areas.

Surge... depending of how the storm strikes the
area... water from the Pamlico Sound can be pushed inland causing
storm surge type flooding in New Bern... Washington... and
Belhaven... as well as many other locations.

Wave action and damage... wave action and currents associated with
the storm surge also cause extensive damage. Water weighs about
1,700 pounds per cubic yard. Extended pounding by frequent waves
can demolish any structure not specifically designed to withstand
such forces. During Hurricane Isabel... many structures in the
Hatteras Village area in Dare County were totally destroyed by the
pounding of 15 to 20 foot waves on top of the storm tide. Wave and
current action will also combine to severely erode beaches and
destroy coastal highways. Many buildings may withstand the
hurricane force winds until their foundations or pilings become
undermined by erosion... at which point the structure weakens and
falls. Those with property along the coast must act early to
secure homes.

It is also important to remember that even distant tropical storms
and hurricanes can send large swells to the area. This often leads
to high surf and life threatening rip currents each year. Beach
goers should monitor routine forecasts from the National Weather
Service for updates on these threats.

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