Watch | What is a storm surge?

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Hurricane Ian has wreacked havoc in the United States. Following the hurricane, life-threatening storm surges were reported in Florida causing widespread destruction.

Hurricane Ian made landfall as a Category 4 storm on Florida’s southwest coast on September 28, sweeping away homes and communities.

Fort Myers Beach, a coastal city on a barrier island, is among the worst hit areas with storm surges nearly reaching the roofs of some houses.

Of all the hazards that hurricanes bring, storm surge is the greatest threat to life and property along the coast.

It can sweep homes off their foundations, flood riverside communities miles inland, and break up dunes and levees that normally protect coastal areas against storms.

Storm surge begins over the open ocean. As a hurricane reaches the coast, it pushes a huge volume of ocean water ashore. Storm surge happens as pressure falls in the hurricane’s centre and the water level rises.

Water level heights during a hurricane can reach 20 feet or more above normal sea level. With powerful waves on top of it, a hurricane’s storm surge can cause catastrophic damage.

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