High Tide Flooding On The Rise In North Carolina

11 Juillet, 2019, 01:44 | Auteur: Therese Cote
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"Flooding that decades ago usually happened only during a powerful or localized storm can now happen when a steady breeze or a change in coastal current overlaps with a high tide", it read. It could start with the year's first king tide, the highest tides of the year, from July 29 to August 4. The water table has risen to ground level and degraded septic systems in the Miami region, and farmlands in the Delmarva Peninsula in DE and Maryland have been damaged by salt water encroaching into planted areas.

"We can not wait to act", said Nicole LeBoeuf, NOAA's National Ocean Service acting director.

High-tide flooding is causing problems including beach erosion, overwhelmed sewer and drinking water systems, closed roadways, disrupted harbor operations, degraded infrastructure and reduced property values - problems which "are almost certain to get much worse this century", the report read. Experts say weather conditions and the warming planet will bring more of them next year.

The agency cited El Niño and rising sea levels as reasons why "it no longer takes a strong storm or hurricane to cause flooding in many coastal areas" and warned that people should expect even more in the future.

"Relative sea levels continue to rise", he said. "This is high tide flooding".

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Average sunny day flooding could reach 7 to 15 days a year by 2030, and 25 to 75 days by 2050. And that's the median for the whole nation.

NOAA scientists predict the southeast could see a 190% increase in flood days next year compared to 2000, the highest of any region. One gauge in Baltimore, Maryland started collecting information in 1902.

"Once communities realize they are susceptible to high tide flooding, they need to begin to address the impacts, which can become chronic rather quickly", William Sweet, an oceanographer at NOAA's Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services and lead author of the report, said in a statement. This year, Baltimore had 12 high tide flood days.

It's not just roads that will be increasingly at risk from rising sea levels nationwide; high tide flooding can also overwhelm or damage drainage and sewer systems.

Alex Harris covers climate change for the Miami Herald, including how South Florida communities are adapting to the warming world.

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