What is storm surge?

(Video: The Washington Post)

As a hurricane travels over the open sea, its powerful winds act like a giant bulldozer collecting water and pushing it forward. When this buildup of water runs into land, the sudden rise in sea level above normal tides is called storm surge, and it is sometimes the most deadly and destructive part of a hurricane.

Every hurricane will generate some storm surge, and so will other storms with strong wind, such as nor’easters.

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