Storm surge: A devastating natural calamity


With many natural calamities that had occurred in any corner of the world, many houses, infrastructures, livelihood are ruined, and even lives that have been perished because of the destructive effect brought by these natural calamities which are unexpectedly happen. One of those is the storm surge.

Many of you have already encountered this word and have adversely experienced this natural kind of phenomenon but don’t even recognize that it is a storm surge already.

What is storm surge?

Storm surge is a rise above the normal water level that occurs during tropical cyclones, intense storms also known as typhoons or hurricanes. The storms produce strong winds that push the water into shore, which can lead to flooding. Storm surges accompany a tropical cyclone as it comes ashore.

cyclone6-s2Photo by: Bureau of Meteorology

Moreover, a storm surge is generated by weather systems forcing water onshore over a generally limited stretch of coastline. It will normally build up over a time frame of a few hours, as the cyclone or similar weather system approaches. Normally wind-waves on top of the surge will contribute to its effect.

What causes storm surge?

It is primarily caused by the relationship between the winds and the ocean’s surface. The water level rises where the winds are strongest. Water is pushed in the direction the winds are blowing. Another factor contributing to storm surge is atmospheric pressure. It is the force exerted by the weight of air in the Earth’s atmosphere. The pressure is higher at the edges of a cyclone than it is at the center. This pushes down the water in the outer parts of the storm, causing the water to bulge at the eye and eye wall where the winds have helped add to the rise in sea level.

Storm surge specifically occur in coastal areas . The regions who are near to this coastal areas are also prone to this. Storm surges generate a serious hazard for coastal areas in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Developing in the late summer months (July-August in the Northern Hemisphere, January-February in the Southern Hemisphere).

There are several safety tips which will become helpful in order to avoid this devastating natural phenomenon before and after the event which are follows:

Before the event

Photo by: PAGASA
  1. Determine whether you live in an evacuation zone.
  2. Develop a flood emergency action plan.
  3. Prepare an evacuation plan.
  4. Assemble a disaster supply kit.

After the event

  1. Monitor your government weather site for the latest watches, warnings, and current conditions.
  2. Listen to area radio and television stations.
  3. Keep abreast of road conditions.
  4. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
  5. Stay away from floodwaters.
  6. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, DO NOT attempt to cross flowing water.

This horrendous kind of calamity will be avoided if we have enough knowledge and preparedness in case it will happen. We must be mindful also of the tips to do during and after the strike of this kind of calamity so that we will become safe and could even save more lives.


National Geographic Society

Weather Underground

National oceanic and atmospheric administration


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