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Meteorology (Weather)/Question about Storm surge?


Hi I was hoping you come help me out with this question I'm having some difficulties with:

"You are visiting the Gulf Coast and have a discussion with a beachfront hotel owner in Louisiana about hurricanes. The hotel owner tells you that hurricanes are not a problem. After all, she says, when Hurricane Camille (category 5) came through, the hotel suffered only minor damage from wind, and there was no flooding to speak of at the hotel. You ask the owner which way were the winds blowing during the hurricane passage and she says, “From the north.”

Explain, with PHYSICAL SCIENTIFICALLY-BASED REASONING, to the owner how storm surge occurs and why, luckily, her hotel was not flooded when Hurricane Camille came through.

Many thanks in advance!


Hi Kim

If you are along the the northern side of the Gulf of Mexico a hurricane will have a storm surge to the east of the center (eye) when the storm passes from ocean to land. The reason is that on the east side of the storm the winds will travel from the south and south east to the north which means the ocean water would be pushed from south to north causing a "surge" as it comes ashore. Winds, in the northern hemisphere, rotate anti-clockwise around storms such as hurricanes and regular low pressure areas.

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Donald Rosenfeld


Any questions (except private) answered from the 1st grade level on up pertaining to any aspect of Weather. I am a 20 year member of the American Meteorological society and a long time forecaster of eastern United States snow storms and Hurricanes.

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