Storm surge has to do with water rising in response to winds from a storm. Storm surge along ocean beaches is usually larger and more intense than in bays and tributaries, where the intensity is controlled by a number of factors. Not being a Meteorologist, mine will be a loose explanation.
How storm surge occurs in a body of water such as the Chesapeake Bay has to do, not only with a storm's strength, but where the storm's center is relative to that Bay. The main winds of cyclones in the Northern Hemisphere spin in a counter-clockwise direction, thus a storm traveling on a Northwest track and coming ashore South of the Bay will create winds that move from the Southeast to the Northwest, which is to say up and into the Bay. Isabel traveled just such a path and piled great amounts of water into the Bay, resulting in a large Storm Surge. Many people were severly hit by flooding; some losing their homes to that storm surge, both along the Bay and throughout its major rivers and tributaries.
|Track of Isabel is South of The Chesapeake Bay.|
Image from NOAA.Gov
Our shop, which is along the water, was badly flooded in Isabel and ever since we have been wary of any major storm that comes up the Atlantic to our area.
|Our workshop after Hurricane Isabel in 2003 (in the early|
days of digital cameras).
|Hurricane Sandy's path was North of the Chesapeake Bay.|
Image from NOAA.gov
|An average high tide here is not much higher than this.|
|This is a dangerous situation. The storm surge has reached a little under 3 feet. |
If you could see the shorelines, the creek looks much larger than normal.