Why storm surges and flooding are the biggest hurricane hazards

Toxic red tide could sicken people as Hurricane Michael pushes it ashore

Hurricane Michael could push this season’s toxic red tide inland, exposing more people to the dangerous health effects of a record algae bloom that has bedeviled much of Florida’s coast.

The hurricane is expected to generate a storm surge as great as 14 feet along parts of the Florida Panhandle, where it made landfall early Wednesday afternoon. That part of the coast that has seen some of the worst concentrations this year of red tide, a variety of algae that kills fish and releases toxins that cause respiratory symptoms in humans similar to tear gas.

Hurricane Michael could carry that algae past the beaches and into neighborhoods, scientists warn…



Why storm surges and flooding are the biggest hurricane hazards

Deputy Cliff Tice of the Dare County Sheriff’s Department walks down damaged NC 12 leading into Mirlo Beach in Rodanthe, North Carolina. Hurricane Sandy left the road impassable after it made landfall in October 2012. Photograph by Steve Earley, The Virginian-Pilot/Nat Geo Image Collection

Hurricane Michael is the seventh hurricane seen in the Atlantic Ocean during this year’s season, and it’s expected to have a major impact in Florida.

The storm has been rapidly growing since Sunday thanks to warm gulf waters, and meteorologists say it could continue growing until it hits land.

The National Hurricane Center is warning that “life-threatening” storm surges are headed for parts of the Florida panhandle, and water levels were already rising in advance of the storm on Tuesday.


Between dangerous hurricane-force winds, rising tide waters, and large amounts of predicted rainfall, Michael is blowing in with a suit of dangers, but which one is most likely to cause injuries and fatalities…

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