Storm surge can occur along all coastal areas of Canada. It can also occur in large lakes, such as the Great Lakes. A storm surge consists of very high waves and high water levels caused by wind and air pressure. It often results in coastal flooding. A storm surge can occur at any time of the year and can be particularly damaging in icy waters of winter.
Storm surges can happen quickly, without allowing much time for preparation. Residents, particularly those living in low-lying areas near the coastline, should prepare in advance.
What to do:
- A storm surge is caused by an abnormal rise in water levels and can often accompany hurricanes, high winds or very intense winter storms.
- The storm surge itself is caused by the wind and pressure "pushing" the water onto the shore, often resulting in high waves and flooding.
- It should not be confused with a tsunami which is caused by an earthquake or landslide.
- Getting caught near the shoreline during a storm surge could be life-threatening.
- If a storm surge has the potential to affect your region, the Meteorological Service of Canada will issue warnings.
- Statements informing the public of the potential for high surf, high water levels and coastal flooding are issued up to 48 hours in advance of any anticipated storm surge.
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