Storm Surge 101: How USAID Helps Caribbean Countries Prepare for this Hurricane Threat

When hurricanes barrel close to communities, many people’s first instincts are to protect themselves from the high winds that threaten to flatten homes and snap trees in half. But, in fact, storm surges — or rising coastal waters created by the storm — pose a far more dangerous and deadly threat.

After a bridge was washed away by Hurricane Matthew’s heavy rains and winds in October 2016, these people in Haiti crossed a flooded river with the help of a rope. Photo credit: Logan Abassi UN / MINUSTAH

What is Storm Surge?

Heavy flooding battered Abaco island in The Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian (left) and Buzi in central Mozambique following Cyclone Idai (right). Photo credit: Alison Harding, USAID; ADRIEN BARBIER / AFP

Meet one of our USAID experts

VIDEO: USAID Hydrometeorologist Advisor Sezin Tokar explains storm surges.
VIDEO: USAID Hydrometeorologist Advisor Sezin Tokar explains how storm maps work.
In 2016, Category 4 storm Hurricane Matthew battered Haiti and left this community south of Port-au-Price severely flooded by the overflowing of the La Rouyonne river. Photo credit: Hector Retamal / AFP

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