A wave surges under the influence of Typhoon Haiyan, in Haikou, south China's Hainan province, November 10, 2013. One of the most powerful storms ever recorded killed at least 10,000 people in the central Philippines, a senior police official said on Sunday, with huge waves sweeping away entire coastal villages and devastating the region's main city. Despite weakening, the storm is likely to cause heavy rains, flooding, strong winds and mudslides as it makes its way north in the South China Sea. REUTERS/China Daily
Storm surge is a popular term in the Philippines now mainly because of the devastating aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan which wreaked havoc in its path particularly in the Leyte province and the surrounding areas. But, what exactly is it? Most Filipinos haven't even heard of that term and don't know what it actually means because it is not used often in weather reports. Filipinos are more familiar with other terms such as tsunami, hurricanes, tornadoes, storm signals and floods.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) of the Australian Government, a storm surge is an abnormal rise above the normal water level along a shore caused by a storm.
In this picture taken October 29, 2012 a truck drives through storm surge flooding of a road during Superstorm Sandy in Southampton, New York. The historic superstorm killed at least 159 people and damaged more than 650,000 homes when it made landfall on October 29, 2012, devastating parts of New York, New Jersey and several other states. TO MATCH ONE YEAR HURRICANE SANDY ANNIVERSARY BEFORE AFTER PACKAGE. Picture 2A. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
A storm surge is typically caused by low pressure, high winds and high waves associated with tropical cyclones such as a typhoon, hurricane, tropical storm, tropical depression and cyclonic storm as it makes landfall.
Apparently, the storm surge brought about by the heavy winds in the coastal areas of Leyte and the surrounding areas was underestimated by those who live there. They were reportedly warned about it and were asked to evacuate the area immediately, but even those who evacuated were still affected by this storm surge.
The Federal government in Manila "knew it was going to be bad but didn't expect this," said The Philippine Star political columnist Alex Magno in a CNBC report.
"We're used to Level Four typhoons but this was different because of the storm surge," said Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala in a report by CNBC.
"It was like a tsunami," Zagala added.
Check out a video of the Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) Storm Surge below:
CREDIT: YouTube/Jules Davis
Its effects are a bit similar to a tsunami, but the difference between a tsunami and a storm surge is that a tsunami is caused by an earthquake, a volcanic eruption or asteroid impacts, while a storm surge happens because of a storm, as the name suggests. It literally means a surge (or flow, heave, outpouring, gush, upwelling, swell, rush, flood) of waves brought about by a storm.
In this picture taken October 29, 2012 storm surge pushed up by Superstorm Sandy floods homes in Hampton Bays, New York. The historic superstorm killed at least 159 people and damaged more than 650,000 homes when it made landfall on October 29, 2012, devastating parts of New York, New Jersey and several other states. TO MATCH ONE YEAR HURRICANE SANDY ANNIVERSARY BEFORE AFTER PACKAGE. Picture 3A. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
To be safe from a storm surge, evacuate to a much higher area that is very far from nearby bodies of water. Because its effects are similar to a tsunami, take the necessary precautions and preparations for situations like that.
CREDIT: YouTube/The Weather Channel
The storm has passed and the Filipinos left behind have survived and made it through the rain. However, even if Typhoon Haiyan has left the country, its effects are still felt up to now and probably in the days to come as the nation slowly rises up from being knocked down by this super strong typhoon.
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