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Guide to Storm Surges For Safety and Home Preparation

A storm surge is an influx of water that moves inland due to wind and pressure differences from events such as hurricanes and tropical storms. Storm surges cause extreme flooding and are arguably more dangerous than the natural disasters that cause them. And unfortunately, little can be done to prevent or decrease the severity of storm surges.

However, you can take steps to prepare your home, community, and family should storm surges come your way. Continue reading to find out what factors contribute to storm surges and what you can do to protect yourself from this unpredictable consequence of severe weather events.

Conditions and Factors That Impact the Severity of Storm Surges

The two primary factors influencing the severity of a storm surge are the storm’s characteristics and the land’s characteristics. The size, intensity, speed, and angle of the storm directly affect how intense a surge will be. The faster and more robust a storm is, the faster and stronger the surge will be. If a storm hits land head-on, it will also increase the strength of the storm’s surge.

As for the land, the coastline’s local features and shape can influence surge strength. If there are a lot of protrusions and irregularities, the waves can break before the surge moves inland.

Risk of Damage to Transportation Systems, Homes, Buildings, and Land

A powerful storm surge can leave you stranded without clean water, communication devices, or electricity. If your vehicles are underwater or public transportation is disabled, you cannot seek aid or shelter. The influx of fast-moving water can completely wash away sections of roads and bridges. Pipelines are ruined, houses and buildings are washed away, causing structural instability and hazardous debris. Waterlogged land becomes more susceptible to erosion and can’t absorb more water should heavy rains fall. This further increases the risk of post-surge floods and water damage.

Even mild storm surges can cause significant, irreparable damage. Educating yourself about the possible effects of storm surges should compel you to take every precaution to ensure safety during severe weather events.

Effects of Storm Surges Can Be Experienced Inland

This unexpected flooding wrought by storm surges is not limited to coastal communities. Any water channel connected to the ocean, such as canals, wetlands, rivers, and marshes, can transport water from the surge and spread its effects.

Inland areas are not exempt from the devastation of storm surges. People who live near a coastal area should be informed and prepared for such an event, but so should residents of inland towns connected to the coast via a water source.

Evacuate Before a Storm Surge Leaves You Stranded

Storm surges are unlike sea level rises and other inland-flooding events because they don’t happen gradually, and there is little to nothing that can be done to prevent them or decrease their effects.

Because storm surges manifest so quickly and with such force, they are one of the most significant threats to life and property experienced by people who live on or around the coast. The extent of damage that can be caused to homes, stores, and transportation systems make evacuation the best option when a storm surge is on the way.

Data tracking programs and modern technology have made it possible to better determine and map out high-risk areas. The National Weather Services provides free public resources that predict storm surges –– and other dangerous weather events.

The best way to protect yourself, your family, and your neighbors from a storm surge is to stay informed and know when it’s time to leave.

How to Prepare Your Property to Prevent Damage and Mitigate Loss

Your home is at risk of storm surge damage if you live near the coast or any water system connected to a coastline. These types of disasters cause more than just water damage. The force of the moving water can cause significant and expensive damage to your home’s structure and foundation and, in some cases, wash it away thoroughly.

Ensure your foundation is stable and free from cracks, erosion damage, and other weaknesses. Lifting your home effectively keeps your house out of dangerous storm surge currents. If you live in a high-risk area, relocating your home to a low-risk area might provide the ultimate peace of mind you’re searching for.

To protect your valuables inside your home, ensure doors and windows are installed with a high-quality waterproof seal to keep out as much water as possible. Ensure flood vents and flood sensors are installed properly and working as they should.


Storm surges pose a significant threat to human lives, property, and land in coastal areas, extending their arm of devastation into some inland communities. You must take the necessary steps to stay informed, especially during storm season, but don’t wait until then to secure your home and belongings. Talk to an expert today at DeVooght House Lifters to find the best ways to prevent damage and loss from storm surge flooding.

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