The Atlantic

How Hurricane Irma Is Sucking Florida’s Beaches Dry

The hurricane is leaving flat expanses of land where ocean used to be, but all that water will rush back as storm surge.
Source: Adrees Latif / Reuters

One of the most dangerous effects of a major hurricane is storm surge: a kind of temporary, localized sea-level rise caused by high winds and low atmospheric pressure. Storm surge is what made Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina, the two most expensive tropical cyclones in American history, so damaging and deadly.

Storm surge is one of the most famous symptoms of hurricanes—so much so: the movement of billions of gallons of ocean water. It’s a hurricane exerting so much that it sucks up water from one place and moves it hundreds of miles away.

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