Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage to coastlines and several hundred miles inland. Winds can exceed 155 miles per hour. Hurricanes and tropical storms can also spawn tornadoes and microbursts, create storm surges along the coast, and cause extensive damage from heavy rainfall.
All Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas are subject to hurricanes or tropical storms. Parts of the Southwest United States and the Pacific Coast experience heavy rains and floods each year from hurricanes spawned off Mexico. The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June to November, with the peak season from mid-August to late October.
When hurricanes move onto land, the heavy rain, strong winds, storm surge and crashing waves can damage buildings, trees, cars, and other infrastructure. Winds pile up and push ocean and bay waters towards the coast which is known as the storm surge. Water weighs approximately 1,700 pounds per cubic yard and the pounding of frequent waves can demolish structures not designed to withstand such forces. The combination of storm surge and the prevailing tide levels are called the storm tide. The powerful and extremely dangerous force of storm tides and crashing waves is the major reason why you MUST stay away from coastal areas during a tropical storm or hurricane warning.