Why hurricane storm surges are so dangerous
It’s not just winds that make hurricanes a threat; the storms can create walls of water that wash miles inland and cause significant damage.
Hurricanes can devastate coastal communities in many ways, from high winds to torrential rainfall. But one of the biggest dangers that a hurricane can pose is a phenomenon called a storm surge. These onslaughts of ocean water are largely responsible for the death tolls of some of the deadliest hurricanes in history, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines a storm surge as the abnormal rise of water above the normal levels of the tide—meaning that a high tide can make storm surges even worse. Generally speaking, storm surges can push water tens of miles inland, causing flooding of 30 feet or more far from the coast.
Storm surges can create