One of the huge factors in Hurricane Katrina's hit on the Gulf Coast was the storm surge, which could have gone as high as 22 feet. How high is that? At Atlantic Beach on the Crystal Coast, 22 feet of storm surge would put water above the roof of the fire department, with waves even higher than that, battering any structures in their way. That's why emergency crews are glad that so many on the Gulf Coast, and here at home, heed warnings to evacuate, and get out of the way of storm surge. The largest recorded storm surge here in North Carolina came from Hurricane Hazel, at nearly 19 feet.