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How Catastrophic Storm Surges Can Cause Flooding

What is a Storm Surge?

Catastrophic Storm SurgesA “storm surge” is a phenomenon that can happen in coastal areas or anywhere that borders a large body of water, such as Lake Ontario or one of the other Great Lakes. During periods of high wind and air pressure, the water level will begin to rise and cause high waves. A storm surge is often seen during periods of high winds, hurricanes, nor’easters (storms or winds blowing from the Northeast), or intense winter storms and can happen within a fairly short amount of time.

How Do Storm Surges Cause Flooding?

The air pressure and winds that form over the water during a storm surge creates large waves, effectively driving up the water level. These waves can cause the lake to spill over into surrounding, low-lying areas and cause significant flooding. The likelihood of this happening goes up significantly if the storm surge occurs at the same time as high tide.

Flooding from a storm surge does not have to be from the lake or ocean directly. The storm surge may cause connecting rivers to flood, or it can combine with any river flooding already being caused by the same storm.

What Kind of Flood Damage Can a Storm Surge Cause?

The inland flooding from a storm surge has been known to damage roads and bridges. With this kind of power, it is not an understatement to say a storm surge can cause catastrophic flood damage, especially if your property is low-lying. The most dramatic example of the kind of damage a storm surge can cause would be Hurricane Katrina from 2005. Most of the damage wrought by the hurricane was the result of the water levels rising due to a storm surge rather than the winds and force of the hurricane directly.

How to Protect Yourself from a Storm Surge

The good news is that any weather phenomenon capable of causing a storm surge is going to get noticed by meteorologists in advance. This will give you some advanced notice so that you can take certain preventative steps to minimize potential damage to your property.

  • Check your property for any areas vulnerable to damage or infiltration from flooding or any potential dangers that could be exacerbated by flooding.
  • Local emergency officials can provide you with information on how to properly sandbag your home to keep water out.
  • Move any important documents to your topmost floor or store them with a friend or family member who does not live in an area that can be affected by a storm surge.
  • Keep an ear on the radio in case an evacuation order comes in.
  • Keep an emergency kit handy and have an evacuation plan in place with your family.
  • If advised by local officials, turn off your gas and electricity.
  • Do not drive through flood waters.

After the Surge

Storm surges are capable of causing catastrophic flood damage to your property. If you find yourself in this situation, fast, professional action is your best response. Flood Services Canada is a leading quick-response remediation service that operates within the Toronto, Oakville, Oshawa, Ajax, Whitby, Georgina, Barrie, Mississauga, and Lakeshore areas. We stand ready 24/7 to provide the best techniques, personnel, and technology to ensure your home or business is clean, safe, dry, and documented as soon as possible.

Contact us at (416) 302-2107 to learn more about our flood remediation and storm damage restoration services, or use our emergency hotline at (416)-999-3930 to get our rapid response teams deployed to your area.

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Chad Vanvari

Chad Vanvari has over 20 years of experience as a cleaning & restoration professional. He started out in Montreal, establishing a commercial carpet cleaning company in the early 1990’s. By 2001, Chad had relocated to Toronto and now had extensive knowledge and experience in responding to fire/water related emergencies. He has been instrumental in the cleanup of several catastrophic floods. Currently, Chad is the president and owner of Flood Services Canada, a 24/7 emergency service restoration company.