(NEW YORK) -- Storm surge poses the biggest threat to people and property as powerful Hurricane Dorian targets the Southeast.
Storm surge could reach 8 feet in South Carolina and 7 feet in North Carolina.
During Hurricane Katrina in 2005, at least 1,500 people died "directly, or indirectly, as a result of storm surge," the National Hurricane Center said.
But what is storm surge?
This is what high tide looks like in St. Augustine. So imagine a potential 4-7 feet of storm surge. That’s why people are boarding up and putting sandbags in doors across town. @abcactionnews pic.twitter.com/leuMdzwW73— Michael Paluska (@MichaelPaluska) September 3, 2019
Here's how it works:
As pressure falls in the hurricane's center, water levels rise. The water accumulates while the storm is still over the open ocean.
When the hurricane closes in on land, its strong winds push that water toward the coast and up onto land, creating walls of water sometimes as high as 20 feet.
The danger to people inside houses on the coast is the deluge of water that can flood homes and overpower walls rapidly.
When Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey in 2012, many homes filled quickly with water that reached levels of 8 to 9 feet.
The risks can be even greater if storm surge combines with high tide, creating a devastating, rapid rise in water levels.
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