MIAMI – The storm surge is called dangerous and life-threatening, but what exactly is it?
It's not a wall of water or a tsunami. Simply put, hurricane winds push water toward shore. It can happen quickly and far from a storm's center, inundating areas that don't typically flood.
Storm surge doesn't just come from the ocean. It can come from sounds, bays and lakes, sometimes well inland.
Jamie Rhome, head of the U.S. National Hurricane Center's storm surge unit, says large hurricanes tend to create greater storm surge over a broader area, and coastal features such as bays can act like funnels and back water up into rivers and canals.
Forecasters say it kills more people than the strong winds. Florida Gov. Rick Scott said it "will cover your house."