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What is storm surge?

Published On: Jul 26 2011 02:16:49 PM EDT

As a hurricane’s winds rotate around the storm, they push the water toward the center of the hurricane creating a mound of water at the center.

storm surge 1

This area of water becomes very dangerous as the storm reaches land because it causes flooding along the coast.


As the hurricane moves over the ocean surface the water continues to pile up.

This mound of water is unable to escape from the hurricane until it reaches land.

In areas where the ocean floor gradually slopes, the storm surge is usually bigger in the hurricane. This causes major flooding. Therefore storm surges are frequently the most devastating element of a hurricane.

storm surge 2

There are computer models that make it possible for forecasters to predict the amount of storm surge that will affect the impacted coastal area.

The Slosh Model takes into account a storm’s strength, the projected path, the shape of the land and how the ocean gets shallow. With all this information it can calculate how much storm surge a hurricane will probably cause.

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