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NOAA NOAA United States Department of Commerce

Storm Surge Unit

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Storm Surge Unit Staff

To serve the Nation's growing need for storm surge information by providing accurate real-time surge forecasts during tropical cyclone events, supporting coastal community preparedness and resiliency through storm surge vulnerability mapping, and increasing awareness through outreach and education.

To reduce tropical cyclone storm surge-related loss of life and property by continually improving the quality of storm surge forecasts, data and decision-support tools and by working with an alliance of federal, state, academic and local partners to support the development of storm surge resistant and resilient coastal communities.

The Storm Surge Unit, part of the Technical Support Branch, is a small group of highly trained meteorologists and oceanographers specializing in predicting storm surge heights accompanying landfalling tropical cyclones using the Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH) computer model. As an integral part of the National Hurricane Center, the Storm Surge Unit produces operational SLOSH model predictions of the storm surge threat for landfalling hurricanes as well as model storm surge simulations of hypothetical storms for federal, state, and local emergency managers used in evacuation planning and storm preparation. Additionally, the Storm Surge Unit performs post-storm analyses and storm surge model verification and continually conducts education and outreach to alert the public of the dangers of storm surge.

The Storm Surge Unit models and predicts storm surge vulnerability over a large area which includes the United States Atlantic and Gulf coasts, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Bahamas (SLOSH model coverage). The Storm Surge Unit is staffed during normal office hours, and 24 hours a day when a tropical cyclone threatens to make landfall as a hurricane in one of the listed SLOSH basin coverage areas. These storm surge operations typically begin when a hurricane warning is issued, approximately 36 hours prior to the onset of tropical storm force winds, and continue until the threat from storm surge subsides. The Storm Surge Unit provides operational products and services during this period.

The Storm Surge Unit collaborates closely with the National Weather Service's Meteorological Development Laboratory (MDL) in Silver Spring, MD. The MDL supports the Storm Surge Unit by developing and maintaining the SLOSH modeling system. During operations, the National Hurricane Center's Storm Surge Unit supports the Hurricane Specialist Unit (HSU) and the local Weather Forecast Offices in order to convey storm surge vulnerability estimates during land-falling hurricanes.

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