Storm surge

A storm surge reflects the difference between the actual water level under the influence of a meteorological disturbance (storm tide) and the level which would have occurred in the absence of the meteorological disturbance (WMO, 2008, 2011, 2017).

A storm surge is the rise in seawater level caused solely by a storm. It is the abnormal rise in seawater level during a strom, measures as the height of the water above the normal predicted astronomical tide. The surge is caused primarily by a storm's winds pushing water onshore.

Storm surge should not be confused with storm tide. A storm tide is the water level that results from the combination of the storm surge and the normal (astronomical tide).

This rise in water level can cause extreme flooding in coastal areas, resulting from storm tides reaching up to 6 meters (20 feet) or more in some cases (NOAA, 2019b.) On top of a strom tide are pounding waves generated by the powerful winds. The area of seawater flooding may extend along the coast for over 100 km, with water pushing several kilometres inland if the land is low lying. The combined effects of the storm tide and surface waves can destroy buildings, wash away roads and run ships aground (Australian Government, 2020).

Examples of National Alerting Parameters include storm surge warning issued in Canada (Government of Canada, 2019) and an Advisory for storm surge watch/warning issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO, 2017).

Latest Storm surge additions in the Knowledge Base

Kiel researchers evaluate the future protection potential of dikes and show flooding scenarios for the German Baltic Sea coast until 2100.
University of Kiel
Indian women dressed in colorful clothes selling fish at a fish market.
Sea-level rise, storm surges and high waves in coastal area do not discriminate, but societal structures often do. This makes climate change a highly gender-sensitive issue.
Conversation Media Group, the
Tourists in Venice wade floods in 2019
Using an innovative approach blending regional and global climate models with Machine Learning and satellite data, new research offers vital insights into future climate scenarios for Venice, essential for effective coastal risk management.
Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici
Flood walls, levees, and high-powered pumping stations are underway in $298 million project to protect densely populated cities in New Jersey. The projects were envisioned in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, which inundated the area in 2012.
Christian Science Monitor
This study examines the relationship between climate change-induced weather emergencies and labor market outcomes in Mexico from 2016 to 2020.
Cover Earth's Future
Due to rising sea levels and changes in storms, floods from the sea are expected to become more frequent in the coming decades. How the probability of a storm surge will change as a result of climate change has been studied by an international team
More accurate ‘nowcasting’ algorithms are needed to support community responses to sudden storms, floods, and other emergencies effectively.
Stevens Institute of Technology
Results of a study, published in the journal Science of The Total Environment, reveal how human activities, rather than natural factors, have impacted tidal flat environments in the contiguous U.S.
Florida Center for Environmental Studies, Florida Atlantic University
Bookshelves in a library.
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