Flooding at high tide is becoming more common, putting coastal economies at risk.


Flooding at high tide is becoming more common, putting coastal economies at risk.

High-tide flooding is growing more common, putting coastal industries in jeopardy.

As the sea level rises, it’s easy to miss the intricacies of rising water. It’s much harder to overlook saltwater flooding streets on a more regular basis, impeding daily life and compounding existing problems.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warns that the frequency of high-tide flooding along the US coasts has tripled since 2000 and is expected to increase five to 15 times more in the next 30 years, according to a new study issued on July 14, 2021.

I work with coastal communities in the northern Gulf of Mexico that are endangered by rising waters and are trying to avoid avoidable damages and costs including infrastructure failures and falling property values. For example, the NOAA report is critical in aiding these communities in their quest to thrive.

Last year, the United States suffered four days of high-tide flooding on average, but that number doesn’t tell the entire picture; other regions around the country experienced substantially more. The number of high-tide flooding days along the Gulf of Mexico and southeast Atlantic coasts in 2020 broke all previous records. In Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, high-tide flooding increased from three days in 2000 to 22 days in 2020.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual high-tide flooding assessment predicts a national median of three to seven days of high-tide flooding this year, with regional variations probable. The western Gulf Coast, which encompasses Texas and Louisiana, is expected to have the most tidal flooding days, which could last seven to fifteen days. In the northeast Atlantic, high-tide flooding is likely to persist six to eleven days. Temperatures on the Pacific Coast are forecast to be cooler than the rest of the country.

Flooding during high tide closes roads and places a strain on stormwater and wastewater systems. The effect may look minor at first, but if flood days become more often, these seemingly inconvenient flood days may have long-term repercussions.

Property values have already fallen in areas at risk of sea-level rise, particularly in areas where cities and homeowners have failed to install flood-resilient measures. Bond ratings are becoming more tightly tied to community resilience metrics, and premiums are starting to climb to reflect actual risk.

Flooded roads can make it harder for first responders to safely reach people in need.

As a result of fewer visits, businesses experience a loss in income. The more often this happens, the greater the impact on coastal economies. It has the ability to lower tax revenues and sever ties between communities.

Sea level rise, as well as the impact of high-tide floods, disproportionately affect poorer, marginalized groups. News from Washington Newsday in a nutshell.


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