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Impacts of Storm Surges

Storm surges can be extremely destructive, causing extensive flooding, severe damage to property and infrastructure, and in extreme cases significant loss of life. Moreover, there are many areas which are potentially vulnerable to such events, with approximately 44% of the world’s population living within 150km of the coast, and with eight of the world’s ten largest cities being located by the sea. Although in recent years the number of casualtes has decreased (although it is still significant), the economic damage has increased.

To take a few examples:

  • Most fatalities from tropical cyclones are due to the associated storm surge, in some cases up to 90%. This can easily be reduced with proper warning systems, but in poor countries with dense housing this is not alwasy possible.

  • It has been estimated that over $220 billion of property in the USA is at risk from a storm surge, with over $40 billion in the Miami areas alone. 

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