A storm surge is a coastal flood or tsunami-like phenomenon of rising water commonly associated with low pressure weather systems (such as tropical cyclones and strong extratropical cyclones), the severity of which is affected by the shallowness and orientation of the water body relative to storm path, and the timing of tides. Most casualties during tropical cyclones occur as the result of storm surges
The two main meteorological factors contributing to a storm surge are a long fetch of winds spiraling inward toward the storm, and a low-pressure-induced dome of water drawn up under and trailing the storm's center. The second effect is responsible for destructive meteotsunamis associated with the most intense tropical systems.
At least five processes can be involved in altering tide levels during storms: the pressure effect, the direct wind effect, the effect of the Earth's rotation, the effect of waves, and the rainfall effect. The pressure effects of a tropical cyclone will cause the water level in the open ocean to rise in regions of low atmospheric pressure and fall in regions of high atmospheric pressure. The rising water level will counteract the low atmospheric pressure such that the total pressure at some plane beneath the water surface remains constant. This effect is estimated at a 10 mm (0.39 in) increase in sea level for every millibar (hPa) drop in atmospheric pressure.
Strong surface winds cause surface currents at a 45 degree angle to the wind direction, by an effect known as the Ekman Spiral. Wind stresses cause a phenomenon referred to as "wind set-up", which is the tendency for water levels to increase at the downwind shore, and to decrease at the upwind shore. Intuitively, this is caused by the storm simply blowing the water towards one side of the basin in the direction of its winds. Because the Ekman Spiral effects spread vertically through the water, the effect is inversely proportional to depth. The pressure effect...
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