Oct 27, 2015

Welcome to the Reign of King Tide: 10 Things to Know about This Week’s Tidal Flooding

Charleston, SC
USA
by
Erika Spanger-Siegfried
,
Union of Concerned Scientists
Southeast Florida residents are facing disruptive flooding this fall, over repeated days. Here, the Miami Herald (earlier today) invites Facebook followers to share their flood stories. Photo: Miami Herald
Southeast Florida residents are facing disruptive flooding this fall, over repeated days. Here, the Miami Herald (earlier today) invites Facebook followers to share their flood stories. Photo: Miami Herald

This week, the so-called “king tides” are rolling in atop elevated sea levels, courtesy of climate change, and the flooding is well underway. This morning, Charleston Harbor, SC saw what is reported to be among the highest water levels ever recorded there—higher than during Hurricane David in 1979, meteorologists said—and the resulting morning gridlock as roads flooded and were closed. Southeast Florida neighborhoods are flooding over a succession of high tides, not surprisingly. Flood warnings are in effect for the East, West and Gulf Coast locations and forecasts warn of flooding through the weekend in low-lying areas.

If it feels like, suddenly, this extreme-tide flooding is in the news a lot, you’re not mistaken. But unlike other stories that take their place, even for years, in the news cycle, this story is not going away. Indeed, the role of extreme tides in coastal communities and beyond is inexorably growing. Welcome to the tidal flooding years—the reign of King Tide