Coastal Hydrology and Storm Surge

Storm-surge is one of the most powerful and destructive elements of major storm events. Excessively high tides associated with storms can flood and inundate coastal areas, often moving sediment and altering coastal landscapes and drainages. USGS provides critical expertise in measuring storm surge and assessing conditions both before and after the storm. Through development of storm tide monitoring networks, data analysis, and data delivery, USGS provides vital information to help coastal communities prepare for and recover from storm surge events. View Fact Sheet


Screen shot of Hurricane Sandy Tide Mapper

Storm-Surge Data Collection and Delivery

Through a foundational network of surge, wave, and tide sensors the USGS is improving our Nation’s ability to mitigate storm damage and improve early warning of storm impacts, vulnerability, and damages.

USGS scientist recovers storm surge sensor in Annapolis, MD.

Developing a Storm Tide Monitoring Network and Data Analysis Capability

Establishing key data-collection sites, equipment reserves and increased use of real-time data, USGS activities can speed up response, recovery and processing capabilities of non-real-time data such as logged storm-tide water levels and other flooding-related data. Together with enhanced data delivery, we are supporting multi-scale monitoring stations that inform modeling and improve early warning capabilities. The U.S. Geological survey (USGS) has developed a mobile storm-surge network to capture information of the timing, extent, and magnitude of storm tide. This mobile network consists of 40-70 water-level and barometricpressure monitoring devices that are deployed in the days and hours just prior to hurricane landfall. Altogether, these activities enhance scientific understanding and coastal resilience.

Data and Tools

Screen shot of Hurricane Sandy Tide Mapper

Hurricane Sandy Storm Tide Mapper

The USGS Storm Tide Mapper is a tool for viewing, analyzing, and accessing storm tide data collected during and after hurricanes and Nor’easters. The USGS Storm Tide Mapper will continue to provide a unified and consistent source of real-time and archived storm-tide data.

Map of flood and high flow condition (United States)

WaterWatch Flood

View a map of flood and high flow conditions in the U.S. Narrow down your search by selecting a state or water-resource region.

Map of real-time streamflow compared to historical streamflow for the day of the year (United States)

WaterWatch Current Streamflow

View a map of real-time streamflow conditions in the U.S. You are able to compare to historical streamflow data for a day of the year or narrow down your search by selecting a state or water-resource region.

Collage of scientists measuring discharge with acoustic doppler current profilers from a moving boat and the data that is retrieved from this instrument.

Acoustic Doppler Current Profiling Technology

The use of acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs) from a moving boat is now a commonly used method for measuring streamflow. The technology and methods for making ADCPbased discharge measurements are different from the technology and methods used to make traditional discharge measurements with mechanical meters

Illustrated graphic of three mobile phones in a bucket to represent the icon for Coastal Change Hazards Portal

Coastal Change Hazards Portal

The USGS has developed a Coastal Change Hazards portal that provides users with direct access to basic and applied research, scientific information, and data on coastal hazards to see, explore, download, and share. Watch the Tutorial Video to get started.


Coastal Hydrology and Storm Surge Team Lead

John Fulton