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Storm surge risks get their own graphics, warnings

Tuesday - 4/15/2014, 3:29pm  ET

Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center, speaks about new color-coded maps that will help coastal residents understand the dangers of storm surge during the upcoming storm season at the 2014 National Hurricane Conference, Tuesday, April 15, 2014, in Orlando, Fla. Knabb is joining emergency managers and forecasters from Texas to Maine this week at the conference. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The National Hurricane Center hopes new color-coded maps they're trying out this year will simplify two important points about storm surge for coastal residents: how far from the beach the water will spread and how high that water will rise.

Storm surge is the abnormal rise of sea water. It's one of the deadliest and most damaging hazards during a hurricane, but it's hard to predict and hard to explain.

Hurricane Center director Rick Knabb says the new potential storm-surge-flooding graphics should clarify why some residents are ordered to evacuate before a storm.

Knabb is attending the National Hurricane Conference this week in Orlando. Giving storm surge its own graphics and warnings is part of an ongoing effort to improve the way forecasters talk to people about storm hazards.

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