More than 56 million people live along the East Coast of the United States and the Gulf of Mexico are expected to experience at least 10 times more flood days at high tide by 2050 due to sea level rise resulting from climate change.
The warning was revealed in a report by the National Oceanic Administrative Association (NOAA) which found that these regions have seen a more than 150% increase in the number of high tide (HTF) flood days since 2000.
Although there are dozens of at-risk coastal communities, cities in Virginia and Texas expected to be hardest hit with up to 124 more days a year of water flowing through streets and boiling storm drains – Eagle Point and Galveston Bay, Texas are expected to have up to 230 days in 2050 by compared to their current five to six days of HTF flooding per year.
While sea levels are expected to rise by a foot over the next 25 years, by 2050 coastal cities across the country are expected to experience an average of 45 to 70 floods a year – that figure compares to three to seven estimated in 2023.
87 million people, or 29% of the US population, live in coastal counties, including more than 41 million in the Atlantic and 32 million in the Pacific.
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A NOAA report warns that coastal cities along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico will experience 10 times more flood days at high tide by 2050 (right) due to rising sea levels sea. This is compared to 2000 (left)
Eagle Point, Galveston Bay, Texas saw up to 30 days of HTF in 2020, but with sea level rise, but could see up to 230 days by 2050
These statistics were published in NOAA’s Annual Sea Level Rise report this shows that flooding along the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf Coast now occurs twice as often as 22 years ago.
High tide differs from floods associated with natural disasters because they are not as catastrophic, but the events could force people living in coastal communities to abandon their homes and move further inland.
HTFs, also known as “king tides”, “nuisance” or “sunny” floods, are defined when tides reach between 1.75 and two feet above the daily mean high tide and begin to spilling onto the streets or boiling up storm drains.
“As sea level rise continues, the destructive flooding that only happened decades ago during a storm now occurs more regularly, such as during a full moon or with a change in winds or currents. dominant,” NOAA shared in a Press release.
The map highlights the top five coastal cities on the Gulf and East Coast that will experience the most days of high tide flooding by 2050
The data predicts that sea level will rise by one foot over the next 25 years. This graph shows the areas that will see the biggest increase in levels
Top 5 Eastern Coastal Cities That Will Have The Most Flood Days Per Year By 2050
1. Lewisetta, Virginia: 141
2. Windmill Point, Virginia: 136
3. Annapolis, Maryland: 115
4. Solomon Islands, Maryland: 131
5. Sewells Point, Virginia: 124
Eagle Point, Galveston Bay, Texas saw up to 30 days of HTF in 2020, but with sea level rise, but could see up to 230 days by 2050.
Three different locations monitored by NOAA tied or broke previous HTF days from May 2021 to April 2022.
On the Atlantic coast, Reedy Point, Delaware broke its previous record with six events, and Springmaid Pier, South Carolina, near Myrtle Beach, tied its 2021 record with 11 high-tide flood events.
And Kwajalein Island in the Pacific was observed with four HTF days, also one more event than in 2021.
The decline in HTF flooding along the West Coast and the US Pacific Islands is however due to the lingering effects of La Niña – but this is only temporary.
It is a periodic weather event affecting coastal storm tracks and bringing colder than normal ocean surface temperatures and lower than normal sea surface heights along parts of the coast. Pacific Ocean, including the western United States.
Nicole LeBoeuf, Director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service, said in a statement: “The East and Gulf Coasts are already experiencing twice as many high tide flood days compared to 2000, flooding shorelines, streets and basements and damaging critical infrastructure.
“As sea levels continue to rise, NOAA is committed to working with coastal communities to provide the tidal information and tools they need to address the issue now and in the years to come.”
High tide differs from floods associated with natural disasters because they are not as catastrophic, but the events could force people living in coastal communities to abandon their homes and move further inland. Pictured is a man kayaking through the streets of Annapolis, Maryland last October
Pictured is high tide flooding in Grand Isle, Louisiana in 2021. Experts predict this area will experience up to 201 days of flooding per year by 2050.
Lewisetta, Va., is another that made the top five most at risk, which could see up to 141 days compared to just 10 in 2020.
Top 5 Gulf Coast Cities That Will Have The Most Flood Days Per Year By 2050
1. Eagle Point, Galveston Bay, Texas: 230
2. Grand Isle, Louisiana: 201
3. Galveston Pier 21, TX: 170
4. Morgans Point, Barbours Cut, TX: 134
5. Sabine Pass North, Texas 125
LeBoeuf, who participated in a separate NOAA report on sea level rise, released in February, said in a summary of the report that destructive flooding typical of sea levels, weather and infrastructure in today are expected to occur more than 10 times more often over the next few years. 30 years
“Make no mistake: sea level rise is upon us,” she said.
In other words, LeBoeuf said, a single flood likely to damage property or business in coastal areas of the southeastern United States every four to five years on average is expected to strike four to five times a year. by 2050.
The projected rise is particularly alarming given that in the 20th century the seas along the Atlantic coast rose at the fastest rate in 2,000 years.
However, the worst of long-term sea level rise from melting Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets is unlikely to occur until after 2100, said Ocean Services oceanographer William Sweet, lead author of the report.
Warmer water expands, and melting ice caps and glaciers add more water to the world’s oceans.
The report “equates to NOAA sending a red flag” about accelerating sea level rise, said Andrea Dutton, a geoscientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who specializes in sea level rise. of the sea that was not part of the federal report. The current coastal flooding in the United States “will reach a whole new level in just a few decades.”
“We can see this freight train coming over a mile,” Dutton said in an email. “The question is whether we continue to let houses slide into the ocean.”