Storm surges are amazing. I’ve never seen one happen but I’ve seen the aftermath. A video has surfaced of a storm surge hitting Hernani in Eastern Samar, shot from the second floor of a house that was a few hundred meters from the coast.
A storm surge is a mound of water caused by the wind of a hurricane (or other storm) pushing the water ahead of it, and further heightened by the low pressure system of the storm. In a given major storm there can be many, but there seems to be one big one most of the time. If the surge happens at high tide it is worse. If it happens at spring high tide in a high latitude (like New York or Boston, or Bourne) it can be way worse.
Also, the surge can be significantly enhanced if it forms in open water and pushes into an embayment or restriction of any kind, which is often the case where human settlements occur, as we tend to settle on estuaries or harbors.
Anyway, here’s the video:
Impressed? On one hand you should be. That’s a lot of power coming in from the sea. On the other hand, you shouldn’t be. This storm surge left quite a bit standing. It was shot from a house that survived, obviously. As impressed as you might be with this storm surge, it was probably not the biggest one that hit in the Philippines during Haiyan. The people shooting those videos would not have lived to pass them on to us.