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HURRICANE HAZARDS 101: Heavy Rainfall and Inland Flooding



Heavy rainfall from hurricanes isn’t just a coastline issue; major hurricanes can also cause massive flooding inland, which can cause billions of dollars in damages.

Key Highlights

Tropical systems can drop several inches of heavy, steady rain resulting in destructive flooding and potential loss of life.

Inland flooding from tropical can destroy homes, businesses, communities, and towns, causing billions of dollars in damage.

More than 50% of tropical hurricane deaths were related to freshwater flooding.


Did you know that approximately 25% of tropical-related deaths in the U.S. do not happen along the coast? Not only do hurricanes cause storm surges and extreme winds, but they can also bring heavy rainfall and inland flooding.

Tropical systems can drop several inches of heavy, steady rain resulting in destructive flooding, property damage, and loss of life. During hurricanes or tropical storms, the air is warm and can hold much moisture. As the moisture rises, it cools and condenses into heavy rain. Heavy rainfall with hurricanes happens when warm air holds more moisture than cool air.

With tropical systems, rain is not just a coastline issue.  Storms can also cause massive flooding inland. Flash flooding or a rapid rise in water levels due to heavy and intense rainfall is likely, and this could last several days after a hurricane or tropical storm hits. 

From 1963 to 2012, around 25% of all U.S. hurricane deaths happened due to inland flooding, and more than 50% of tropical hurricane deaths were related to freshwater flooding, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. 

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Recently, Hurricane Ian dumped flooding rainfall across Southwest Florida and up the East Coast. Hurricane Ian brought torrential downpours to Florida, with more than a foot of rain falling. Nearly a week after landfall, rivers continued to rise in some areas. Countless water rescues took place in Florida and up the coast into South Carolina's coastal communities due to rising flood waters from Ian.

Some Florida citrus growers have lost up to 80% of their crop in the wake of Hurricane Ian as a result of flooded groves. One grower said it would likely take at least two seasons for them to recover to pre-hurricane production levels.

When tropical storms or hurricanes threaten your business, you should be prepared. Flooding from these storms can cause billions of dollars in damage and revenue losses. If heavy rainfall and flooding threaten your area you should:  

  • Identify hazards most likely to impact your location & cause business disruptions. 
  • Take steps to minimize inventory loss due to flooding - If your warehouse is in a low-lying area, you should take precautions.
  • Prepare for possible disruption to ground logistics due to road closures, flooded roads, and power outages 

You can minimize flooding impacts on your business or even prevent them if you are prepared. Join our operational meteorologist Joe Bauer on Wednesday, October 19, at 11 a.m. ET for a look at flooding risks, concerns, and the impacts it could have on your business. Tom Bedard, Implementation Manager and Meteorologist at AccuWeather for Business, will also preview the new tools we have developed to ensure you have everything you need to plan and stay ahead of dangerous weather conditions.  Register now for our webinar: Flooding Fears: The Impact on your Business. 

Flooding can have significant impacts on your business operations.

Join our experts to discuss threats and solutions on 10/19 at 11 am ET.