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VERIFY: Hurricane Water Is Deadlier Than Wind

You ask; we VERIFY. Hurricane strength is measured in wind speeds, but water is the deadliest factor.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — One of nature's most powerful beasts is categorized by the sheer power of its winds. But, the speed of the air might not be its biggest threat.


In light of hurricane season, is it true winds are the deadliest aspect of hurricanes?



WFMY News 2 meteorologist Terran Kirksey confirmed the common claim that winds are the deadliest aspect of hurricanes is false.

Water is the deadliest byproduct, both in the form of storm surge and inland flooding. That's why, he explained, sometimes tropical storms and weak hurricanes can leave death tolls and damage trails greater than those of much stronger storms. The slower a hurricane churns, the more water it typically dumps on a particular area.

The Weather Center's data concludes storm surge accounts for nearly 50 percent of all U.S. tropical storm and hurricane deaths, and rainfall flooding accounts for 25 percent of U.S. tropical storm and hurricane deaths.

Conversely, wind causes eight percent of U.S. tropical storm and hurricane deaths.

The rule of thumb: "hide from the wind; run from the water."


Water is deadlier than wind in tropical storms and hurricanes. 

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