Is it a “wall of water” that rushes in?
Rarely. It is usually a rise of water that can happen quickly, moving at the same rate as the forward speed of a hurricane.
How powerful is a storm surge?
Very powerful. Only 1 cubic yard of sea water weighs 1,728 pounds. A 6-inch surge can knock a person down.
How dangerous is it?
Storm surge kills more people in a hurricane than all other components of the storm. The overwhelming majority of deaths in the 10 deadliest U.S. landfalling hurricanes were the result of storm surge.
How can I stay safe?
Get away from it. A surge 1 foot deep can take a car off a road. Get out early, because the surge can begin up to 24 hours before landfall. During Hurricane Katrina, people stayed in their homes and died there when the surge filled their homes with water and they could not escape. Also, don’t leave pets at home. Many animals died when people left them in their homes during Hurricane Katrina.
The Anatomy of a Hurricane