This Shocking Video Shows How Terrifying A 'Storm Surge' Really Is

by Christina Marfice
Image via The Weather Channel / Twitter

Here’s why a ‘storm surge’ can be a deadly part of a hurricane

Hurricane Florence has made landfall in North Carolina. And though the hurricane was downgraded to Category 1 by the time it hit land, people in the storm’s path are definitely not out of the woods. Most hurricanes hit land at an angle and churn up the coast, but Florence hit head-on, and that path may contribute to increased storm surge. Not sure why that’s so scary? The Weather Channel created a video that will help you see exactly why the storm surge can be one of the deadliest parts of a hurricane.

On a map, a reporter points out areas that may be affected by storm surge. Because of Florence’s unique path straight inland, it’s not just the coast that may be affected — the map shows areas along rivers miles inland that may see surges up to nine feet.

But what does that really mean? Using computer animation, the Weather Channel has created a shocking visual that shows just how and why these surges are life-threatening.

At three feet, the water is high enough to submerge the reporter up to her waist. It can flow over the hood of a car, and could be enough water to sweep some cars away, she says. It could definitely knock someone over.

Image via The Weather Channel / Twitter

At six feet, things definitely start to get scary. The water is well over the reporter’s head, high enough to float cars away and almost deep enough to completely submerge street signs.

Image via The Weather Channel / Twitter

And that’s not even as bad as Florence could get. Some areas have surges predicted to top nine feet, which is honestly terrifying when it’s in a visual form like this.

Image via The Weather Channel / Twitter

That is serious flooding. That is past the first floor of a home and into the second. As the reporter notes, “This is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation. If you find yourself here, please get out. If you’re told to go, you need to go. Listen to those local officials, and make sure you heed the advice if told to do so.”

Around 1.5 million people have already been advised to evacuate in the days ahead of Florence making landfall, and this video can help anyone see why. That kind of flooding is obviously life-threatening, and people clearly need to go if that’s projected for their area. For disaster workers and those displaced by the storm, Airbnb is offering free accommodations through Oct. 1. And for anyone who isn’t in the path of the storm who would like to help, ABC has compiled a list of organizations already on the ground providing relief in the areas affected by Florence.