82 Days Under Water: Tide Is High, but They’re Holding On
Fall Flooding Imperils Florida Communities
This is all just NYT nonsense. What is described has little or nothing to do with the sea level or tides. The Southeastern U.S. coast has been subsiding for years and gives no sign of stopping.
The same is true of the East central English cost -- where records showing sinking and erosion go back hundreds of years. There is no cure for it in either the USA or England and it is most unlikely to stop
All coastal land along the affected coast should be made public parks. There is no other safe use for it. I believe that has already been done in some cases
The “King Tides” are unusually high this year, creating a maddening logistical task for people along the Blackwater Sound, a low-lying stretch of the Upper Keys. The tides have been six to 18 inches higher than expected.The “King Tides” are unusually high this year, creating a maddening logistical task for people along the Blackwater Sound, a low-lying stretch of the Upper Keys. The tides have been six to 18 inches higher than expected.
The are 215 homes in the neighborhood, whose mangrove-lined streets now look more like stagnant canals.
Life during the unusually high “king tides” in South Florida this fall has become a maddening logistical task for people along the Blackwater Sound, a scenic but low-lying stretch of the Upper Keys. For nearly three months, the residents of Stillwright Point’s 215 homes have been forced to carefully plan their outings and find temporary workarounds to deal with the smelly, stagnant water — a result not of rain, but a rising sea — that makes their mangrove-lined streets look more like canals.
Another Key Largo neighborhood, Twin Lakes, is similarly inundated. Scientists say a combination of factors, including disruptive hurricanes, have contributed to this year’s exceptionally high tides.
“King tides” take place predictably each fall, when the alignment of the moon, sun and Earth creates a stronger gravitational pull on the warm oceans. Rising sea levels caused by climate change make the flooding worse.
This year, Hurricane Dorian and other tropical storms in late August and September likely interrupted the Gulf Stream, which moves water away from southern Florida. Instead, the water backed up, said Chris Rothwell, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service in Key West. Tides from the Carolinas to Florida, and from the Florida Keys to Tampa, have been six to 18 inches higher than expected.
“This is a high anomaly,” said Brian McNoldy, a senior research associate at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
“But as time goes on, what we think of as high anomalies will gradually become more normal. There’ll be a time at some point where what used to be our high tide becomes the mean sea level.”
The last time Miami set a record for an average monthly low tide, measured by a tidal gauge in Virginia Key, was in 2009, Mr. McNoldy said, adding that he would not be surprised if that record is never broken. In contrast, Virginia Key set average monthly records for high tide this year in March, July, August, September and October, “and in November, I have full confidence that we’ll break that monthly record too,” he said.
Longtime Florida Keys residents and officials say they have never seen tidal flooding this bad outside of a hurricane — and certainly not when they bought their properties 20 or 30 years ago. The most flooding that Stillwright Point regulars remember was for 22 days in 2015. When this year’s flooding reached biblical proportions — 40 days and 40 nights — the dramatic news made the front page of The Miami Herald.
That was more than a month ago. The water, which neighbors say reached 18 inches in some places, briefly started to recede; then, overnight during the last full moon, it swelled again, surprising residents who had thought the worst was behind them.
“You feel like a trapped rat,” said Jan Darden, 61, who is Mr. Darden’s wife, as she stood outside the couple’s house with water up to the driveway. She had postponed a trip to the mainland to pick up prescription eyeglasses.
Stillwright Point was once an enclave of fishing cottages that later drew commercial pilots craving the island life, just an hour from Miami International Airport. Now, the neighborhood has some million-dollar homes. A single road, North Blackwater Lane, leads in and out of the community.
Residents want Monroe County to elevate their roads and install pumps, similar to what Miami Beach did to mitigate its sunny-day flooding. Rhonda Haag, the county’s sustainability director, said she would ask commissioners next month to expedite road-modeling work, but any actual construction would still be far-off. Pilot elevation projects for Twin Lakes and a low-lying community in Big Pine Key that have been in the works for years are planned first.
Elevating a third of the county’s 300 miles of roads could cost $1 billion, Ms. Haag said. “We are the most vulnerable county in the state, if not the nation.”
“For sale” signs sit outside several houses. Two streets have handwritten “No wake” signs, reminding drivers to go slow to avoid splashing onto other cars, driveways and what used to be gardens.
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