Open Accessibility Menu

What are Storm Surges and Why Are They Dangerous?

From fires, to tornadoes, to storms, natural disasters of all kinds can be powerful enough to cause damage to your property. If you live near the ocean, then you are well aware of the dangers that hurricanes present. The strong winds and influx of water making its way inland are serious causes for concern.

Furthermore, storm surges can be created before the hurricane itself even makes landfall, which is actually where much of the concern regarding hurricanes comes from.

Continue reading to learn more about storm surges, how they form, and the dangers that they present.

What is a Storm Surge?

A storm surge is an atypical rise in seawater levels during a storm. It is a measurement of how much higher the water’s height is compared to its expected level. For example, a normal anticipated seawater level might be 5 feet. However, due to an incoming hurricane, the water level is now at 12. The storm surge is the difference between the two: 7 feet.

These surges usually take place before hurricanes make landfall, increasing the overall amount of damage that an area and its properties may suffer. They can also happen in as little as a few minutes.

Storm surges are not to be confused with storm tides. A storm tide refers to the total seawater level and is the combination of the normal predicted tide level and the storm surge.

How Does a Storm Surge Develop?

A storm surge is created when hurricane winds direct water to the shore as it nears it. The winds at the eye of the hurricane move the water in a circular motion. This water is then pushed closer toward land as the storm nears the shore. From there, this outward water is combined with the normal tides to create a higher seawater level.

Storm surges have been known to increase water levels by 30 feet or more. The surges tend to be higher the quicker a storm is, but it also depends on other factors, such as the body of water’s type. For example, more enclosed bodies of water can create a larger storm surge even if the storm itself is slower.

What are the Dangers of a Storm Surge?

When there is a storm surge, the water can cause beaches and nearby highways to suffer extensive erosion. The massive waves can harm boats, bridges, and nearby buildings in addition to flooding the area. Contents floating in the floodwater can also cause damage, as the surge forces debris to collide with other things like buildings. Furthermore, the surge can increase levels for other bodies of water, such as lakes.

According to the American Meteorological Society, the death and destruction associated with hurricanes are actually caused mostly by the storm surge that precedes its landfall. Its report states that, from 1963 to 2012, nearly half of the hurricane-associated deaths that happened were related to storm surges. Per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, many of the lives taken in relation to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 were caused by the storm surge.

How Can I Prepare for a Storm Surge?

If a hurricane is imminent, then be wary of the possibilities for a storm surge. Stay alert, and keep an eye on the news for any evacuation orders and other important information regarding the dangers the weather may present.

Because of how quickly a storm surge can occur, make sure an emergency preparedness plan is in place. Evacuation orders may not always come with enough time, but they often do. With a plan already developed, you give yourself the best chance at staying safe.

What Should I Do In Response to Storm Damage?

In any situation regarding water damage, whether it is minimal harm or extensive damage, immediate action is crucial. If your home or business has been affected by a storm surge, then you need to seek professional help right away. The longer you wait to address the damage, the worse it will become.

At ServiceMaster Disaster Associates, Inc., we provide complete water damage restoration and cleanup services to assist residential and commercial properties in Rochester, NH, and the neighboring areas that have suffered harm by water. Whether the water entered your home or business because of a mere pipe leak or something as significant as storm damage, our professional technicians are ready to help.

To begin our water damage restoration services, we will promptly arrive at your property to contain the water. This will prevent the water from spreading and causing additional damage. From there, our technicians assess the damage, create a plan for restoration, remove the excess water and moisture, and then thoroughly dry out the property.

Discovering that your home or building has sustained major storm damage following a storm surge and hurricane can be tough. But with help from our water damage restoration services, your property will be safe to be in once more.

What are Storm Surges and Why Are They Dangerous? was last modified: October 16th, 2020 by ServiceMaster Disaster Associates, Inc.