Storm Surge: The greatest threat to life during a hurricane

SMYRNA – The Delaware Emergency Management Agency reminds residents that National Hurricane Preparedness Week runs this week through Saturday, May 30, just before the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season on June 1.

Preparation for hurricanes includes learning more about what dangers they present.

Storm surge creates the greatest potential for loss of life during a hurricane or tropical storm.

Storm surge is the water that gets pushed ashore by the force of the winds that swirl around a storm.  Combined with normal tides, the surge advances to create a hurricane storm tide.  This increase in the amount of water increases average water levels to heights that impact roads, homes, and other critical infrastructure.  To further compound the problem, wind driven waves are part of the surge.

The rise in water levels creates severe flooding in coastal areas, and can be even more serious if the storm coincides with regular high tides.  Delaware’s low coastal areas are under severe threat from storm surge.

Combined with wave action, storm surge can cause severe property damage, while seriously eroding beaches and dunes, and affecting infrastructure such as coastal highways.

The threat to life caused by storm surge is why authorities will issue evacuation orders, and residents of low-lying coastal areas should take such orders seriously, and relocate inland as soon as possible.

For more tips on how to prepare your family and property for tropical storms or hurricanes, log on to

The Sussex County Post delivers news from Georgetown and southern Delaware. Follow @SussexPost on Twitter.

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