© 2022 WLRN
MIAMI | SOUTH FLORIDA
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

High tide flooding will become increasingly common due to sea level rise

Scientists say king tides provide a glimpse of future everyday water levels, and they are a way to communicate local sea level rise impacts over long time periods.
Scientists say king tides provide a glimpse of future everyday water levels, and they are a way to communicate local sea level rise impacts over long time periods.

According to a new report, high tide flooding — often referred to as “king tides” or "nuisance” flooding — is becoming increasingly common due to years of sea level rise.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that coastal communities across the U.S. will continue to experience more frequent high tide flooding, forcing residents to deal with flooded shorelines, streets and basements.

Doug Marcy, a coastal hazards specialist with NOAA, says by 2050, high tide flooding on a national scale is expected to be between about 45 to 70 days a year on average.

In Miami, they will increase to 60 times a year, and between 70 and 110 times a year in St. Petersburg.

"Most cities that are low lying are starting to really have impacts," Marcy said. "And cities that are not quite having impacts yet will start to, because we've seen increases in water levels due to sea level rise."

High tide flooding occurs when tides reach anywhere from 1.75 to 2 feet above the daily average high tide, sending water spilling onto streets or bubbling up from storm drains.

"We're expecting a lot more events, Marcy said. "We just published a sea level rise technical report and kind of the headline from that was that we're going to experience potentially another foot of sea level rise in the next 30 years."

Marcy says Florida's coastal communities will likely have to plan for significant projects and upgrades to infrastructure to deal with increased flooding.

NOAA reports its continuing to improve its ability to predict high tide flooding. This year’s outlook is enhanced by methods outlined in the U.S. Federal Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flood Hazard Task Force’s 2022 Sea Level Rise Technical Report.

Copyright 2022 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7. To see more, visit WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7.

Cathy Carter is the education reporter for WUSF 89.7 and StateImpact Florida.