These pictures were taken in Bridge City, Texas after Hurricane Ike made landfall in Galveston, Texas. Using Google Earth, and measuring from where these pictures were taken, its estimated that 20 miles inland, there was about a 14 – 15 foot storm surge. This is not a scientific measurement, its just an estimate.
How the storm surge was estimated – my parents house is is about 4 feet above sea level and they got over 9 feet of water in their house. This picture was taken 3 days after Hurricane Ike made landfall and the flood waters had receded about 7 – 8 feet.
Now looking back from the opposite direction. Notice the road has several inches of mud over it. From where this picture was taken, the flood waters got about 5 – 6 feet deep.
Storm surge is only one aspect of a Hurricane, one of the other considerations is the wind. During Hurricane Ike this house collapsed, hopefully nobody was home. Keep in mind this is about 100 miles from where the center of the storm made land fall. Notice the debris on the roof. Not only did the wind make the house collapse, but it was also covered with water by the storm surge. This would have meant certain death to anyone trapped inside.