More than 56 million people living along the US East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico are predicted to experience at least 10 times more flooding by 2050 due to rising sea levels due to climate change.
The warning was revealed in a report by the National Oceanic Administrative Association (NOAA), which found that these regions have experienced a more than 150 percent increase in the number of high water days (HTF) since 2000.
While there are dozens of coastal communities at risk, cities in Virginia and Texas are expected to be hardest hit with up to 124 days a year more water sloshing through the streets and bubbling up from storm drains – Eagle Point and Galveston Bay, Texas are predicted to by 2050 to have 230 days of the current five to six days of HTF flooding per year.
With sea levels expected to rise by a foot over the next 25 years, coastal cities across the country are expected to see an average of 45 to 70 floods per year by 2050 — compared to the three to seven estimated in 2023.
87 million, or 29 percent of the U.S. population, live in coastal counties with more than 41 million in the Atlantic and 32 million in the Pacific.
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A report from NOAA warns coastal cities along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico will experience 10 times more flooding by 2050 (right) due to rising sea levels. This is compared to 2000 (left)
Eagle Point, Galveston Bay, Texas saw up to 30 days of HTF in 2020, but with rising sea levels, it could see up to 230 days in 2050
These Statistics Released in NOAA’s Annual Sea Level Rise report that shows that flooding along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts is now twice as common as it was 22 years ago.
Floods differ from floods associated with natural disasters in that they are not as catastrophic, but the events can force people in coastal communities to abandon their homes and move further inland.
Also known as “king tides,” nuisance,” or “sunny day” flooding, HTF is defined when the tides rise anywhere from 1.75 to 60 cm above the daily mean high tide and begin spilling onto streets or bubbling up from storm drains.
“As sea levels rise, damaging flooding that decades ago only occurred during a storm is now becoming more common, such as during a full moon or with a change in prevailing winds or currents,” NOAA shared in a statement. press release.
The map highlights the top five Gulf and East Coast coastal cities that will see the most days with high tides by 2050
Data predicts that sea levels will rise by a foot over the next 25 years. This image shows the areas in which the highest levels will rise
Top 5 eastern coastal cities with the most high water days per year in 2050
1. Lewisetta, Virginia: 141
2. Windmill Point, Virginia: 136
3. Annapolis, Maryland: 115
4. Solomons Island, Maryland: 131
5. Sewells Point, Virginia: 124
Eagle Point, Galveston Bay, Texas saw up to 30 days of HTF in 2020, but with rising sea levels, but up to 230 days by 2050.
Three different NOAA audited sites matched 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, matched its 2021 record with 11 high water events.
And Kwajalein Island, in the Pacific, had four HTF days, also one more event than in 2021.
However, the lower HTF flooding along the West Coast and the American Pacific Islands is due to the ongoing effects of La Niña – but this is only temporary.
This is a periodic meteorological event that affects coastal storm lanes, bringing cooler-than-normal ocean surface temperatures and lower-than-normal sea surface elevations along parts of the Pacific Ocean, including the western US.
Nicole LeBoeuf, director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service, said in a statement: “The East and Gulf Coasts already have twice as many days of high tides as in the year 2000, flooding shorelines, streets and basements, and damage to critical infrastructure.
“As sea levels continue to rise, NOAA is committed to working with coastal communities to provide the tide gauge information and tools they need to address the problem both now and in the years to come.”
Floods differ from floods associated with natural disasters in that they are not as catastrophic, but the events can force people 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 a high water flood in Grand Isle, Louisiana in 2021. Experts predict that by 2050 this area will flood to 201 days a year
Lewisetta, Virginia is another that made the top five most risky, who could see up to 141 days out of just 10 in 2020.
Top 5 Gulf Coastal Cities With Most Floods Per Year By 2050
1. Eagle Point, Galveston Bay, Texas: 230
2. Grand Isle, Louisiana: 201
3. Galveston Pier 21, Texas: 170
4. Morgans Point, Barbours Cut, Texas: 134
5. Sabine Pass North, Texas 125
LeBoeuf participated in a separate NOAA report on rising sea levels, released in February, and said in a summary of the report that damaging flooding characteristic of current sea levels, weather conditions and infrastructure is expected to be more than 10 times more frequent. will occur in the next 30 years.
‘Make no mistake, sea level rise is imminent,’ she said.
Put another way, according to LeBoeuf, a single flood likely to damage property or trade in coastal areas of the southeastern U.S. every four to five years is expected to strike four to five times a year by 2050.
The expected increase is especially alarming given that in the 20th century, the seas along the Atlantic coast rose with the fastest increase in 2000 years.
However, the worst long-term sea level rise from the melting of ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland is unlikely to occur until after 2100, said oceanographer William Sweet, the report’s lead author.
Warmer water expands and the melting ice caps and glaciers add more water to the world’s oceans.
The report “is the equivalent of NOAA sending a red flag” about accelerating sea-level rise, said University of Wisconsin-Madison geoscientist Andrea Dutton, a sea-level rise specialist who was not part of the federal report. The coastal flooding the US is now experiencing “will be taken to a whole new level in just a few decades.”
“We can see this freight train of more than a mile coming,” Dutton said in an email. “The question is whether we will keep sliding houses into the ocean.”