What exactly is a storm surge?

As Hurricane Irma pounds the Florida peninsula, storm surges are now feared.


NSFW    FLORIDA — A storm surge is an enormous mound of water that accumulates and is pushed ashore by hurricane winds.

It is one of the deadliest and most destructive threat from a hurricane, according to ABC News

Storm surges are responsible for around half of hurricane deaths since 1970, according to the National Hurricane Center, USA Today reported.

The National Weather Service only started issuing storm surge alerts this hurricane season.

About 1,000 miles of coastline from Tampa Bay to parts of South Carolina could experience a storm surge. Forecasters warn of a 10- to 15-foot surge in the Naples area and 5 to 8 feet around Tampa, ABC News reported.

Storm surge watches and warnings are not included with hurricane alerts because hurricane winds and storm surges don't always occur at the same place or same time, said Rick Knabb, former director of the hurricane center, USA Today reported.

During a storm surge, people should evacuate, while for wind warnings, they can stay in place as long as the structures is stable and away from flood-risk areas, Knabb added.

A "storm surge watch" is issued when there's a chance of flooding, while a "warning" is issued when flooding is expected.
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