Emergency management crews will have another tool to help them protect low-lying areas from flooding the next time a hurricane approaches.
Beginning this year, the National Hurricane Center's projections will include surge maps that show where flooding is expected along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.
Flooding that usually accompanies a hurricane is caused by a storm surge -- a rise in ocean water caused by the atmospheric pressure and wind that pushes water landward. Storm surges can kill, with nine out of every 10 deaths from hurricanes caused by the surge or its flooding, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency statistics.
The surge maps, which will be experimental for at least two years, will be issued at the first sign of a hurricane or tropical storm watch and will be continuously updated with each new hurricane forecast, typically issued every six hours, according to a release from hurricane center's parent agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
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