STORM SURGE: What is it? Will it be possible during Irma?

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – While we’re still in wait and see mode, those who live near water need to think about the possible storm surge from Irma.

Several creeks and marshlands near the Intracoastal Waterway are vulnerable to a three to five foot storm surge.

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This is the rising of water levels due to wind, tide, or severe rainfall. Surges can prove disastrous in our coastal areas.

Storm experts at the National Weather Service say a surge is not out of the question with what Irma will bring to our area. Right now it’s too early to call how much a surge we may see.

“At this point in the game it is extremely difficult to provide a number because of the uncertainty that we have. Basically it’s beyond the realm of science at this point, but they are pretty darn good between that watch time frame, within forty eight hours with the modeling at the hurricane center utilizes,” says Steve Pfaff, NWS Wilmington warning coordinator meteorologist.

That two days before the storm may be the earliest we know a surge and other damaging factors are possible.

Regardless of when the watches take place and potential storm surges are issued, the NWS is anticipating swells and rip currents along the beaches in New Hanover County.

You can access the NWS map on storm surge hazards at, http://nhc.noaa.gov/nationalsurge/.