The National Hurricane Center will issue storm surge watches and warnings during the 2017 hurricane season, which will be a first. Storm Surge Specialist Jamie Rhome says the amount of water that a named storm can push into a coastal area can be as destructive and deadly as damaging winds.

“In the event that we think life threatening conditions are possible within an area, we would issue a warning which would say, life threatening conditions are possible within this area and take appropriate action.”

A storm surge watch will be issued when there’s the possibility of life-threatening rising water moving inland within 48 hours. Rhome says a storm surge warning will be called when the danger of deadly rising water will take place in the next 36 hours.

“So residents now, instead of asking why am I being asked to evacuate, there would be an explicit warning from the weather service stating that life threatening conditions are possible in an area.”

Rhome says the storm surge watch and warnings will be tailored to the specific locations at risk from life-threatening storm surge flooding.

“If the threat only goes one mile inland or if the threat goes 20 miles inland, the watch and warning system is flexible to handle that.”