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Danger Zone: Hurricane Storm Surge

3 minutes

(Describer) Under a round logo of a wave, title: Ocean Today.

[dramatic music playing]

(Describer) A wave crashes up stairs, a wall of water flies up, and beaches and streets are flooded.

(Describer) Title: Hurricane Storm Surge.

(Describer) Winds blow rain sideways through trees.

(male narrator) Powerful winds aren't the only deadly force during a hurricane. The greatest threat to life actually comes from the water in the form of storm surge.

(Describer) A wave suddenly floods a street.

Storm surge is water from the ocean that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the hurricane. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides and can increase the water level by 30 feet or more.

(Describer) More walls of water form at a curb.

Storm surge, combined with waves, can cause extensive damage. It can severely erode beaches and coastal highways. The pounding waves can take out boats and buildings. As the waters move inland, rivers and lakes may be affected and add to the rising flood levels. We can't prevent storm surge, but we do have a system to warn of incoming threat. As a hurricane develops over the ocean, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center closely monitor its path to evaluate the risk of a coastal strike. They use a computer model called SLOSH to predict storm surge heights. The model depends critically on the hurricane's track, intensity, and size. SLOSH uses water depths, land elevations, and barriers to water flow to compute surges as they move inland. This data helps determine which areas may need to be evacuated. When a hurricane slams our coast, it's important to be aware of all the dangers. As a reminder, emergency managers want us to run from the water and hide from the wind. Don't take unnecessary risks during a storm. Conditions can change in the blink of an eye.

(Describer) Waves hit two people on bicycles.

Storm surge is a dangerous event during a hurricane, where furious winds are driving deadly flows of water from our seas to our shores.

(Describer) A big wave engulfs a camera before pulling back. Logos are shown for the Smithsonian and NOAA. Accessibility provided by the US Department of Education.

Accessibility provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

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Powerful winds aren’t the only deadly force during a hurricane. The greatest threat to life actually comes from the water in the form of storm surge. Storm surge combined with waves can cause extensive damage, erode beaches, and destroy coastal highways. Researchers use computers to predict storm surge and warn individuals. Part of the "Danger Zone" series.

Media Details

Runtime: 3 minutes

Danger Zone
Episode 1
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Danger Zone
Episode 2
2 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Danger Zone
Episode 3
4 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Danger Zone
Episode 4
3 minutes
Grade Level: 9 - 12
Danger Zone
Episode 5
3 minutes
Grade Level: 9 - 12
Danger Zone
Episode 6
3 minutes
Grade Level: 9 - 12
Danger Zone
Episode 7
3 minutes
Grade Level: 9 - 12
Danger Zone
Episode 8
4 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Danger Zone
Episode 9
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Danger Zone
Episode 10
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12