Storm Surges

By Alex Scott

moon over the ocean

Moon reflecting on the Cornish sea (DanwaldronShutterstock).

Because we have a deep understanding of the relationship between the Earth, moon, sun, and tides, we can predict the height of the water along the shore under normal weather conditions with a high degree of accuracy. A storm surge, which is a sea level change due to changes in wind strength and atmospheric pressure, can also affect tides. Storm surges are dependent on the weather and can therefore be predicted only two to three days ahead of time. Before you head out to the beach, check both the tide charts and the weather. And, look for signs that things may be different from normal, such as a beach covered with driftwood, kelp, or other unusual debris. If it seems like it’s getting dangerous, head home until the conditions improve.

This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine January/February 2023 issue.

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