Originally published on Tue October 30, 2012 8:17 am
Hurricane Sandy may be grinding closer to the East Coast with 90 mph winds and torrential rains, but the most devastating aspect is likely to be storm surge.
Simply put, storm surge is wind-driven water that is forced against the shore, piling up in low-lying areas where it can cause dangerous flooding. A number of factors can make storm surge worse: a massive storm with high winds headed straight for a region full of shallow coastal bays and inlets.
Sandy seems to have them all, says Chris Landsea, science and operations officer at the National Hurricane Center.