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NOAA: It No Longer Takes a Big Storm to Produce Flooding

High tide flooding in coastal communities, absent storms, increase because of a rise in sea levels.
July 15, 2019

A new report just issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that it no longer takes a big storm to produce high tide flooding in coastal communities, because of a rise in sea levels.

NOAA warns that increased high tide flooding reported by U.S. coastal communities last year may be exceeded again next year and for decades in the future because of rising sea levels. NOAA said that this higher water level will affect the economies of coastal areas, reducing tourism and pressuring such infrastructure as septic and stormwater systems.

The report, entitled, “2018 State of High Tide Flooding and 2019 Outlook,” provides details of the changes in high tide flooding patterns at 98 NOAA tidal gauges along the nation’s coast. NOAA says now that sea levels are higher, strong storms or hurricanes are no longer necessary for such flooding to occur in many coastal areas.

NOAA has identified more than 40 locations where annual rates of storm-free high tide flooding are rapidly increasing, and another 25 locations where high tide flooding is trending upward, but more gradually. The increases predict a wetter future for many coastal areas.

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