What is storm surge, and how does it happen?

Associated Press

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – During Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, storm surge was a major issue for coastal areas. Storm surge basically is when a storm or hurricane pushes water toward the shore.

When winds pick up during a hurricane, the sea level rises. The more powerful a hurricane is, the higher the water level will be.

The wind is what dives a storm surge.

Storm surge is extremely dangerous: the sea level can rise in feet within minutes, and just six inches of water can knock over an adult, according to the National Weather Service.

Hurricane Irma was a monster of a storm, not only width-wise, ranging about 400 miles across, but also due to how powerful the storm was. The hurricane made landfall as a Category 4 storm in the Florida Keys, and the cleanup process could take months.