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

Siesta Key docks during a king tide in 2019..JPG
Rene Janneman
High tide flooding is becoming more common and damaging in many parts of the U.S. In 2019, Siesta Key docks were flooded due to high tide.

NOAA projects that the high tide flood frequency between May 2022 and April 2023 will average 3-7 days, the same as the previous year, but an increase from the 2-6 days expected between 2019 and 2020.

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.

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