How is a storm surge created?
Before a storm surge can occur, we need some elements to be present:
a low pressure system, winds and high tides. Now, here is how a storm surge develops:
In a low pressure system, remember we mentioned that warm air rises,
and as it develops into a tropical storm or hurricane, the uplift of air is so
powerful that it lifts a bit of weight off the water's surface.
This means that the level of water in the area of the low pressure system
is higher than its' surrounding areas. In the center of this low pressure zone,
there is a bulge forming on the water surface.
With high winds blowing coastwards, the bulge of water is pushed along
the direction of the winds — usually towards land. Once it reaches land, water
finds its' way all over the place, causing massive flooding and destruction.