Breakdown: Storm Surge, Why it can be worse than a Hurricane

Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 2:03 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - When explaining tropical systems, meteorologist will talk about the storm surge potential and how dangerous it can be.

In this episode of the Breakdown, we will explain what Storm Surge is and why it can be worse than the hurricane itself.

What is storm surge? It is an abnormal rise of water over and above predicted tide levels.

During weaker storm systems, a smaller amount of surge will occur, but there will be some rising of the ocean waters onshore.

As the strength of the tropical system grows, the surge potential increases. A strong storm could have a higher rise in water level with some structural impacts possible.

During a major tropical storm, the water rise could be nearly 20 feet or higher and the impacts to the coast will be devastating.

How does a storm surge work? Well as a storm forms in the ocean and is well off shore, the water will begin to rise above its normal tide level.

As the storm moves just offshore the coast, water levels will continue to rise and flooding and structural impacts will start.

When the storm makes landfall, the pressure in the air will lower and the strong winds from the storm will push water inland. As this occurs, it can cause devastating structural impacts to buildings along the coast.

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