Storm surge induced by severe typhoons has caused many catastrophic tragedies to coastal communities over past decades. Accurate and efficient prediction/assessment of storm surge is still an important task in order to achieve coastal disaster mitigation especially under the influence of climate change. This study revisits storm surge predictions using artificial neural networks (ANN) and effective typhoon parameters. Recent progress of storm surge modeling and some remaining unresolved issues are reviewed. In this paper, we chose the northeastern region of Taiwan as the study area, where the largest storm surge record (over 1.8 m) has been observed. To develop the ANN-based storm surge model for various lead-times (from 1 to 12 h), typhoon parameters are carefully examined and selected by analogy with the physical modeling approach. A knowledge extraction method (KEM) with backward tracking and forward exploration procedures is also proposed to analyze the roles of hidden neurons and typhoon parameters in storm surge prediction, as well as to reveal the abundant, useful information covered in the fully-trained artificial brain. Finally, the capability of ANN model for long-lead-time predictions and influences in controlling parameters are investigated. Overall, excellent agreement with observations (i.e., the coefficient of efficiency CE > 0.95 for training and CE > 0.90 for validation) is achieved in one-hour-ahead prediction. When the typhoon affects coastal waters, contributions of wind speed, central pressure deficit, and relative angle are clarified via influential hidden neurons. A general pattern of maximum storm surge under various scenarios is also obtained. Moreover, satisfactory accuracy is successfully extended to a much longer lead time (i.e., CE > 0.85 for training and CE > 0.75 for validation in 12-h-ahead prediction). Possible reasons for further accuracy improvement compared to earlier works are addressed.