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An interactive map shows how storm surge could impact your area


Dangerous winds and torrential downpours will not be the only concerns as Hurricane Ian continues to intensify on a track into the Gulf of Mexico and toward Florida.

To help prepare residents for what they can expect, the National Hurricane Center has an interactive map that shows the impact storm surge can have along Florida's coast, as well as along the Eastern seaboard and in the Gulf of Mexico to Texas.

The map lets users toggle between a simulation of the various hurricane intensities, from a Category 1 to a Category 5.

Megan Borowski, a meteorologist with the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network said the risk tied to storm surge needs to be taken seriously.

"You can really just picture it as a plow taking up all that water and pushing it inland," Borowski said. "So the sea level rise, you can think of it as a temporary rise of between 5 and 10 feet. So areas at sea level right now, you're going to be under water."

Borowski said the storm surge will be compounded by rainfall, which could be up to a foot in some areas.

"Normally it will seep into the water table. It'll drain out via the Hillsborough River and local waterways," Borowski said. "But if you've got the onshore flow, you've got saturated ground from the rainfall and you've got rain not being able to flow out because you've got water being pushed inland, so you're going to have a exacerbated flooding situation."

Borowski said storm surge could be an issue from the Florida Keys all the way up to north of Tarpon Springs, but it just depends on the position of the storm.

The closer you are to the center of it, she said, the more likely you are to experience stronger winds pushing more water on shore.

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Carl Lisciandrello