Storm Surge Information

Fig. 1 Storm surge/storm tide schematic. Courtesy of NOAA

Still wondering, if you should evacuate when ordered to during a hurricane? Storm surge is water that is pushed towards the shore by the force of winds swirling around a storm. Following an elevation survey, the City of Cocoa Beach has installed marking points on stop signs depicting how high the water would rise if the city is hit by a storm surge.

  • Yellow: 5 feet above mean high-water level
  • Orange: 10 feet above mean high-water level
  • Red: 15 feet above mean high-water level

Fig. 2 Image showing main factors that lead to storm surge (not total water level). Courtesy of NOAA/The COMET Program

Fig. 3 Diagram showing the main elements that make of total water level and lead to coastal impacts: surge, tide, and wave processes (runup and setup). More on this HERE from the USGS.

Fig. 4 Total water level in action. Courtesy of USGS

2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Brian Costleigh September 7, 2017

    Evacuate or not? There are 2 parts to this. These storms can bring in some fantastic surfing waves and when you are invincible you are sticking around and having a wonderful time. I can personally say I stayed in the water surfing during past storms way longer than I should have. Now let me tell you a story. Hurricane Isabel hit up north in Delaware as a tropical storm in I believe 2003. I was 40 years old at that time. I was starry eyed watching the waves roll in. I needed a slightly larger board so I went to the local surf shop and came home with my new friend. I went into the water and unfortunately, the waves were way larger and way stronger in a matter of 60 minutes. (I gets that bad that quick). But at the time, I was so stoked, nothing was going to stop me. Well, first time out. I went from having starry eyes to having stars circling around my head. Ie. I got my butt kicked. And kicked really really really hard. My leash let go and I lost my board. I was 30 yards out in incredibly rough waters. I managed to get back to shore and I watched my new board float away. ☹️ . The moral of the story? Don’t be a dumb ass like I was. And I consider myself a pretty strong surfer and swimmer. (I am not go to tell you what I have done with a jet ski dusting big storms). The bottom line is The storm waters can eat you alive and then you are dead. Too many people think they can conquer these waters. And they is where the theory of survival of the fittest comes into play! If the storm is expected to bring in a storm surge. Look at the road signs! That is where the water may rise to. If you get caught in the storm surge and flood waters, no one may be coming for you. If the expected scenario is bad, just leave town, go somewhere safer and you get to live another day. Then come back the next day and clean up the mess.

  2. Steve September 7, 2017

    Thank you for your information. I have a Condo. at Oceana in Cocoa Beach do you think I will sustain Flooding etc.. will we have plenty of damage? Your help would be greatly appreciated? Thank you in advance and Stay Safe my Friend? Steve…

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