Storm Surge Analysis Reveals At Risk Areas

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ST ANDREW-- A real estate information company has just released the newest storm surge risk analysis results showing which areas of the nation are most at risk. CoreLogic puts more than 50,000 Bay County homes in the at-risk category.

Local emergency management officials agree storm surge is a major problem during a hurricane.

These beaches may look calm, but during a hurricane it's a different story. They'd be under water, along with all these homes, because of storm surge.

"It's going to be driven by the wind it's such a powerful force that it's an unsurvivable event when you have ten feet of water coming at your home with waves on top of it. It's just something you can't survive," said Bay County Chief of Emergency Services Mark Bowen.

Bowen explains storm surge prediction maps are the key in determining if you should evacuate. "And whether you're going to stay or go that's the big decision that people have to make during these hurricanes, particularly strong hurricanes, are we going to ride this out or are we gonna leave," said Bowen

"It got so bad we had to evacuate so its very scary, no matter how long you've lived here and how many times it's happened," said Lynn Haven resident Valerie Cain.

There are three driving forces powering the surge."Basically it's the combination of wind, pressure and elevation," explains Bowen.

He also says, "the number one thing people need to know is what is the elevation of the finished floor of their home and what is the elevation of the land around their home."

Bowen says you shouldn't be fooled by the storm's one through five category designation.

"We know now that the storm surge predictions don't necessarily correlate with the category of storm," said Bowen.

CoreLogic ranks Florida as the most at-risk state in the nation for storm surge. More than 6,000 Bay County homes are located in areas designated at extreme risk zones.