Storm Surge (Encyclopedia of Science)
A storm surge is a rise in water level caused by a combination of wind and low atmospheric pressure. It is the most destructive force of a hurricane (an intense cyclone that forms over warm tropical oceans; called a typhoon when it occurs in the western Pacific Ocean and adjacent seas)
Formation of a storm surge
When a hurricane is forming over open, warm ocean waters, the wind pushing the water and the low atmospheric pressure in the eye of the hurricane cause the level of the sea to rise, whipping the water into gigantic waves. Because this is happening away from land, the water can escape and move freely away from the building storm. But as the hurricane moves towards land and the depth of the water becomes more shallow, the ever-increasing wall of water does not have a chance to flow away. Instead it is built up around the eye of the hurricane and forms huge waves. These mountainous waves pound against the land and anything in its pathuildings, homes, piers, and people. Storm surges can be more devastating depending upon the strength of the hurricane's winds and the shallowness of the off-shore waters.
A storm surge can also become much more destructive if it occurs during high tide (an increase in water level due to the Moon's gravitational pull on Earth). This is called a storm tide. For example,...
(The entire section is 649 words.)
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