Storm Surge

By SuperManu [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Storm surge created by hurricanes is the biggest risk to life and property during a storm. Storm surge happens along the coastline when hurricane winds or the winds from an extreme storm push water towards the coast. The surge intensity depends on many factors including storm strength, speed, angle of approach, the topography of the land and tides.

Higher sea levels give coastal storm surges a higher starting point when major storms approach, launching water up along the shore. The resulting storm surge reaches higher and penetrates further inland in low-lying areas. The risk is even greater if storms make landfall during high tides.

For more information: Union of Concerned Scientists, Hurricanes and Climate Change

Superstorm Sandy and storm surge

The view from aerial tour of Hurricane Sandy damage of New Jersey’s barrier beaches. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Herbert)

When Sandy hit New York in 2012 it came during a time of full moon impacted tides. Coupled with the intensity of the storm, and the geography of the area which funneled more water into the hard hit areas, storm surges topped 14 feet in many parts of Brooklyn, far exceeding HighWaterLine | NYC’s modest 10-foot line of 5 years earlier. (More information).