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Perform for a Storm Surge


Storm surge can occur in all coastal regions as well as in areas surrounding large lakes, such as the Great Lakes.  Storm surge consists of elevated water levels and large waves caused by wind and changes in atmospheric pressure.  Often, storm surge can cause severe flooding in coastal regions and can occur at any time of the year.  In winter, It can cause severe damage because the water is ice-cold.


Quick Facts on Storm Surge
  • Storm surge is caused by an abnormal elevation in the water level and can often accompany a hurricane, violent winds, or severe winter storms. 
  • The storm surge itself is caused by wind and atmospheric pressure “pushing” the water towards the shore, which causes large waves and flooding.
  • Storm surge is not the same as a tsunami (also known as a tidal wave), which can be caused by an earthquake or landslide.
  • If you are trapped near shore during a storm surge, your life could be at risk.
Be Attentive and Listen For Storm Surge Warnings
  • If there is a risk of storm surge in your region, your weather advisory service should issue warnings.
  • Where appropriate, a notice is issued up to 48 hours in advance to inform the public of potentially elevated water levels, high surf, and possible coastal flooding.
Preparing for Storm Surge
  • Examine your house and surrounding terrain to determine if flooding is possible.  Locate any potentially vulnerable areas and take preventative measures to fix them as much as possible.
  • Sandbags are an excellent way of preventing water from entering your home.  But, before resorting to this solution, obtain specific instructions from local officials on emergency procedures (and possible evacuation directions).
  • Know how to turn off the gas and electricity to your home in case local officials request that you do so. Emergency Supply Kit
  • If you live in a region prone to flooding, don’t store any important documents in the ground floor or basement of your home.  Make sure they are stored safely away from potential floodwaters.
  • Ensure that your family has an emergency kit and emergency plan.
  • Ensure that your emergency kit is portable and will fit into either a backpack or small rolling bag.
  • It’s a good idea to get certified in CPR and Emergency First Aid.  Your local Red Cross chapter can assist you in finding both CPR classes as well as water survival classes that will focus more on swimming techniques.

If A Storm Surge Warning Has Been Issued
  • Make sure that you have all the necessary items, namely, all medications, a radio, a flashlight and batteries.
  • You may be asked to evacuate.  In case you have to, make sure to have your emergency kit at the ready and in a portable bag such as a backpack, duffel bag, or small rolling case.
  • Make sure that basement windows are tightly closed.
  • Fill up your car’s gas tank in advance.  If evacuation of your area is necessary, it may be difficult to stop en route.
  • If you have any questions or want more information on evacuation procedures, contact your local Emergency Services, Police, or Fire department.
What To Do During a Storm Surge
Stay indoors to protect yourself from the water.  It’s best to stay on the side sheltered from the wind and away from windows.
  • Pay attention to the storm’s progression and to any warnings or instructions from local authorities.
  • Before taking your car, listen attentively to instructions given by rescue officials and those coordinating evacuation plans.
  • Don’t drive in floodwater.
  • Be aware of potential risks like hypothermia or drowning in running waters.