As Hurricane Irma continues to make its way to Florida, meteorologists are worried about the storm surge.
But what is storm surge?
By definition, storm surge is rising water moving inland from the shoreline, pushed onshore by the force of the wind.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane. In the past, large death tolls have resulted from the rise of the ocean associated with many of the major hurricanes that have made landfall. Hurricane Katrina (2005) is a prime example of the damage and devastation that can be caused by surge. At least 1500 persons lost their lives during Katrina and many of those deaths occurred directly, or indirectly, as a result of storm surge.
Just this hurricane season, the NWS issued the first-ever operational Storm Surge Watch. The watch was issued on August 23 at 10:15 a.m. CDT by the NWS in Corpus Christi. The watch was in effect for portions of the Texas coast ahead of then Tropical Depression Harvey.