Water is to hurricanes what a center is to a quarterback, which in this analogy would be the wind. Without the center, the quarterback isn’t getting the ball and the offense can’t run an effective play. The quarterback gets all of the attention and the center is only noticed if there’s a problem. Seldom do we pay attention to the water risk to the extent we do wind risk, but we should. As I pointed out, only 11% of deaths from hurricanes in the US are due to wind. Water’s generally the biggest risk.
From storm surge to flooding, nothing’s been more deadly in hurricanes than water. According to data from the National Hurricane Center, 27% of all deaths have occurred from flooding and 49% from storm surge. With South Florida saturated with one of the wettest Augusts on record already, and more water on the way, flooding is without a doubt a risk, as is storm surge, especially with king tide making an appearance this weekend.
For most of us in South Florida, the biggest issue we generally run into with water during storms comes into play when saturated soil along with enough wind leads to downed trees, limbs and power lines. For many years now this has been the deadliest risk of all for Floridians. What happens after the storm? I’ll cover that in the story on exposure.
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