BOSTON — Coastal flooding is getting worse and it's going to continue to get worse, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The agency has published a new study of high tide flooding along coastal areas and says the northeast can expect to see up to 19 days of what's called 'sunny day flooding' this year.
High tide flooding occurs when the high tide rises above flood stage and is often referred to as 'nuisance flooding' or 'sunny day flooding.' The problem has become increasingly common due to years of relative sea level increases. More and more, it doesn't take a storm to flood Boston's waterfront and NOAA officials say it's only going to get worse.
“U.S. coastal communities are faced with mounting challenges as sea levels rise,” says Nicole LeBoeuf, acting director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service. “NOAA’s tide gauge observations not only ensure safe maritime navigation but are now providing critical information about changes in coastal flood risk to help communities prepare for and plan for a more resilient future.”
According to the study, we should see more than double the number of high tide flooding days than we saw in the year 2000. Areas along the north Atlantic could see a 140 percent increase from the average number of days recorded in 2000, which was just six.
By 2030, long-term projections show seven to 15 days of high tide flooding nationally. By 2050, the number rises to 25 to 75 days.
“Once communities realize they are susceptible to high tide flooding, they need to begin to address the impacts, which can become chronic rather quickly,” said William Sweet, Ph.D., an oceanographer for NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services and lead author of the report. “Communities find themselves not knowing what to expect next year and the decades to come, which makes planning difficult. Our high tide projections can play a vital role in helping them plan mitigation and other remedies.”
You can explore an interactive map of flooding records here.