Oct 17, 2016

During King Tide, Two Feet of Seawater Flooded Hollywood's Streets

Hollywood, FL
Jess Swanson
New Times Broward-Palm Beach
One Hollywood neighborhood floods with the king tide. Photo: Jess Swanson
One Hollywood neighborhood floods with the king tide. Photo: Jess Swanson

Approaching high tide at 10 a.m. Sunday, a fleet of concerned residents waded through severely flooded Hollywood streets to document the effects of sea-level rise during the king tide. Marching down Adams Street, the group was armed with soggy sneakers, rulers, and cameras. They were optimistic that their photos could bring actual solutions for the residents who live beside Hollywood's South Lake.

"We get trapped in our homes twice a day for two hours," says homeowner Peter Scher as he stands on  his driveway's peak and the only sliver of dry land in his front yard. "It's getting worse... It's funny how the seller didn't mention [the flooding] when we bought the home in June."

Every October on the full moon, the water levels are the highest of the year — during the king tide. This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated an added three feet of water on Sunday and Monday in Hollywood. It was too much for the already low-lying neighborhood that regularly floods. Without a seawall protecting residents, water from Hollywood's South Lake gushed into the streets, inundating roads and driveways in two feet of water. At the peak level, it was lapping up at residents' doorsteps.  

"Every year is a little bit higher, and as far as water levels go, this is the most severe," says Alex Sommers, vice president of the Hollywood Lakes Homeowner's Association. "We're really unprotected from the Atlantic, but for people here it's the little things, like if you needed to go to Publix or CVS. As the water gets deeper, it's more difficult to drive through."