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Storm Surge

Your correspondent contacted Collier County Emergency Management to discuss hurricanes and the storm surge effect. The following [slightly edited] e-mail swapping took place:

“I'm interested in knowing how to interpret a "storm surge", particularly in trying to make sense out of the height of a storm surge versus the penetration inland. Clearly, a storm surge of ten feet, for example, does not inundate every parcel of land less than ten feet above sea level from here to Miami. Is there any reference material available that would help me to understand the actual storm surge required to reach, say, the intersection of Logan Boulevard and Vanderbilt Beach Road in Naples? I would appreciate any pointers you might be able to provide.”

“You first need to know your elevation. At the time of the storm surge, information will be given as it relates to the tide at that time. When you look at one of our surge maps, you're looking at the worst case scenario (the maximum of maximum). In the Logan/VB Road area you're in pretty good shape. Your biggest threat would come from hurricane winds, not surge. In the inland areas, the water would be rising, with no wave action. Hope this helps.”

“Thank you. I appreciate the input. Our garage floor elevation is nominally 13.5 feet. Short of worst-case cat-5, we've suspected that we're probably better off putting up the storm shutters and hunkering down in our "built solid" DiVosta house here in IslandWalk, but the whole issue of storm surge had been less than clear.”

“Protect yourself from wind and you’ll be fine.”

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Kenneth W. Brown, 4057 Trinidad Way, Naples, FL 34119
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