Anna Answers: Why is storm surge considered dangerous?

Weather Wisdom

Question: Why is storm surge considered so dangerous?

Answer: Storm surge is actually considered the most deadly part of a hurricane. As Hurricane Ida makes landfall this Sunday, let’s talk about what storm surge is and why it is so heavily warned and talked about.

Storm Surge is defined by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) as the abnormal rise in the seawater levels during a tropical storm. It is measured as the height of the water over and above the levels predicted by the astronomical tide. But the NHC also notes since it is the difference between water levels it does not have a standard reference level.

Now we can talk about what causes storm surge. Storm surge is caused by the winds of the storm pushing water onto the shore. The level of storm surge depends on many factors such as the orientation of the storm to land, the strength, rating, size, and speed of the storm. But overall, the general rule of thumb is the highest surge occurs with the strongest hurricane winds.

It is considered dangerous because it can rise rapidly. It can rise several feet in just several minutes. The storm surge also typically moves at the speed of the storm and the storm surge is very powerful and heavy in weight as well. Debris is typically in the water as well and the storm surge can contain floating debris that can cause damage if you are caught in the surge.

Have a weather question you have always wondered about? Message me on social media: Facebook (Anna Meyers), Twitter (18StormAnna), and Instagram (Anna.weather), or email me at AnnaMeyers@WETMTV.com and you might be featured on the next weekly Anna Answers.

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