Why storm surges can be so dangerous

Hurricanes and tropical storms are defined by their powerful winds. But the storm surges they produce can often prove just as destructi...


Hurricanes and tropical storms are defined by their powerful winds. But the storm surges they produce can often prove just as destructive in coastal communities.

Hurricane Ida was to create dangerous storm surges in parts of Louisiana and Mississippi.

A storm surge is defined as an abnormal rise in ocean level generated by a storm, beyond the predicted astronomical tide. Surges are produced by ocean water moving inland, pushed by the force of the wind.

On the high seas, hurricanes can hammer water without producing a thrust. But near the coast, shallower water is blown inland, threatening property and lives.

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of overland winds, where the wave will be accompanied by large, dangerous waves, the National Hurricane Center said.

Surge-related flooding depends on the timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary widely over short distances, the center said.

In 2008, Ike, a Category 2 hurricane that made landfall near Galveston Island in Texas, produced waves 15 to 20 feet above normal tide levels, the center said. Property damage was estimated at $ 24.9 billion.

The National Hurricane Center said areas subject to a storm surge warning were at risk of “life-threatening flooding.” Residents of those areas should heed evacuation instructions from local authorities, the center said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Why storm surges can be so dangerous
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