What a storm surge looks like

On the few occasions that people actually think about coastal hazards, the image that springs to mind for most people is coastal erosion with beaches and roads being eaten away by wave action. But a far more serious threat to our local towns comes not from erosion, but from coastal inundation/flooding caused by a storm surge.

This video is a flyover of Mexico Beach, Florida following hurricane Michael. The extent of the devastation to hundreds of homes and businesses is plain to see. Note also how the surge has moved up rivers and estuaries and waterway developments (similar to Whitianga).

This is what a storm surge looks like. As seas continue to rise and tropical storms become more intense this is the future facing many Thames-Coromandel coastal towns like Whitianga, Tairua, Coromandel, Te Puru, Thames, and Whangamata. Meanwhile, TCDC is concentrating on beach erosion. Sure it’s a problem, but it is tiny compared to the threat from storm surge and coastal flooding.

If you are a local coastal property owner are you willing to play “real estate roulette”? And why are you not banging on the council’s door demanding that it take this issue much more seriously?