No question this is the outlier. It's just when these extreme storms come, whether or not an area gets a surge won't matter. Total destruction and large loss of life will occur regardless.
Probably given the wind, most of the damage will be from wind in this storm, similar to Andrew despite its 17 foot surge
Wind, even in this situation, is still more survivable than a storm surge is. Hide from wind, run from surge
has always been the mantra of emergency management authorities. Even the most well-constructed bunker is a deathtrap if it's overtaken by water.
bodies are in the streets
Surge surge surge. Water water water. Flooding flooding flooding.
Those are the words that should be mentioned over and over again before a storm hits.
Not 190 mph, category 5, and record winds.
Reports I saw before the storm suggested most of the coastal residents just didn't comprehend what a storm surge was or why they had to leave. Even the authorities - not blaming PAGASA as they did forecast a 15 foot surge - didn't seem to understand the threat well, or at least they didn't communicate it well. Think about it - in most of the Philippines, there's a sharp drop-off to the Philippine Trench right offshore, which mitigates surges. The Leyte Gulf is one of the few natural "surge traps" and at such a low latitude, strong typhoons are pretty rare in that location. I suspect it's just a foreign concept to many Philippine people. There isn't even a Tagalog word for "storm surge".
When we were talking to Stormstrike from Tacloban earlier in this thread (around Page 25) he was concerned about Haiyan, but only about the winds and maybe rain flooding, and he felt somewhat safe because his house is concrete, his trees were tripped back, and he has supplies. I asked him his elevation above sea level and he had no idea and didn't realize it was even a concern. I told him the storm surge will be like a tsunami and he freaked out. Everybody around the world understands tsunamis after all the videos of the past few years, and that's the type of visceral language that needs to be used to communicate the threat of storm surge flooding in the future.
I hope Stormstrike is safe and checks in soon, and I'm glad to see many of you others from the region are checking back in now.
My wife (from Cebu) tells me there is also no equivalent word for "storm surge" in Visayan language. There's probably not one in the local (Leyte) dialect either?