Concern Grows For High Tide Flood Vulnerability In Mid-Atlantic States

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By 2045, cities along the East Coast could experience 120 high-tide floods each year

February 27, 2017

Photo: Twigboy/Wikimedia Commons

Within 30 years, coastal flooding from the Gulf of Mexico to the Northeast could occur every few days, according to new research. By 2045, cities along the mid-Atlantic coastline including Washington D.C. and Annapolis, Md., would experience more than 120 high-tide floods annually, says a study published recently in the journal PLOS ONE. This region of the country is subject to seas rising faster than nearly anywhere else, and its lands are sagging under the weight of geological changes, the report says.

The region now experiences floods that block roads and damage homes about once a month. The new analysis stood out in part because of its focus on impacts that are expected within a generation instead of longer periods.

High-tide flooding will occur less often along the northeastern and Gulf coasts, but is projected to occur more frequently in the decades ahead than is currently the case in some coastal mid-Atlantic cities and towns. Cities including Boston, New York, and Norfolk, Va., are mulling proposals to protect their shorelines and make their communities more resilient.

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