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What is a storm surge?

A storm surge is an abnormal rise in the water level along a shoreline produced by a meteorological disturbance such as hurricanes.

As the hurricane winds pass over the surface of the sea they generate waves, which flood the shoreline. The rise in water level and the hammering effect of the waves produce a storm surge that can cause coastal erosion, flooding, scour roods, undercut sea walls and demolish buildings.

You are most at risk from a storm surge if you live close to the coast. A storm surge causes damage in two ways:

  • The rising water level floods areas that are usually beyond the waterline.
  • The breaking waves impact higher along the beachfront and as they crash into the shore, they send water rushing even further inland.

What to do if you are at risk from a Storm Surge

A storm surge is a feature of a hurricane, so take the following general precautions when a hurricane threatens: