According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), storm surge is one of the most dangerous parts of a hurricane and one of the main causes of coastal inundation. It also can cause damage and flooding many miles inland. Approximately 22 million people in the U.S. are vulnerable to storm surge, and it is responsible for about half the deaths in the United States due to tropical cyclones.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, through its Climate Ready Water Utilities Initiative, has released a storm surge inundation and hurricane strike frequency map that illustrates worst-case coastal storm surge or inundation scenarios across the United States’ Atlantic and Gulf coasts, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The map utilizes NOAA data on sea, lake, and overland surges; 100- and 500-year floodplain information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and hurricane strike datasets from the National Hurricane Center.
NOAA’s National Hurricane Center and Office for Coastal Management also released an animation that illustrates storm surge dangers earlier this year. The animation is intended to raise awareness and encourage people to follow evacuation warnings. In November 2014, NOAA also released a storm surge inundation map, which can be found here.