Make a Model of Storm Surge!
What You'll Need:
- A plastic plate
- Container of play-dough
- Six sugar cubes
- One cup of water tinted with blue food coloring
- Hair dryer
- A baking sheet or plastic garbage bag
Make it Happen!
- In this activity, you will make a model coastline and decide where
houses are placed along it. Then you will test your model to see if
where a coastline like that would flood during storm surge.
- Using play dough, create a coastlines against one side of the plastic
plate. Decide where you'd like to place the sugar cube houses along
- Fill the plastic plate with blue water. This water represents the
Test your models by aiming the hair dryer so that wind blows across
the ocean towards the land. The water will have nowhere to go and will
pile up on the shore. (Put your model in a baking pan or on plastic
garbage bag to prevent spilling water.)
- Did you see water pile up along the coast? Were any of your sugar
cube houses flooded? Change the shape of the coastline to see how it
affects storm surge. Change the location of the houses to see if there
is anywhere where they will not flood.
How Does it Work?
In this model, the blowing hair dryer is like the winds of a hurricane.
Hurricane winds push water into a mound at the storm’s center.
As the hurricane gets closer to the coast, the mound of water is unable
to escape anywhere but onto land. A hurricane will cause more storm
surge in areas where the ocean floor and coastal areas slope gradually.