Mar 26, 2018

The Tide Is High, But We're Holding On

Managing Editor Lauren Baltas write about coastal flooding

Blondie said it best: the tide is high—in the Northeast U.S., at least. Residents in the region have dealt with this fact for most of 2018. A powerful “bomb cyclone” storm first hit the Northeast early January, and another storm—a “nor’easter”—hit the first weekend in March, bringing heavy rain, wind and snow with it. Just days later, the region was hit by a snowstorm. And, as of press time, only days following the snowstorm, another nor’easter is gaining speed on the coast.

The storms left destruction in their wake. The Washington Post reported that the nor’easter in early March claimed at least eight lives and left millions without power. Thousands of flights were cancelled, roads were closed and evacuations were ordered. Thirteen states were affected, said ABC News, with East Bridgewater, Mass., receiving 5.74 in. of rain; Cobleskill, N.Y., receiving 39.3 in. of snow; and Barnstable, Mass., seeing wind gusts of 93 mph.

But most devastating, perhaps, was the flooding. The storm coincided with the full moon, which caused a high tide that was exacerbated by the storm, and resulting floodwaters crept through coastal cities. Boston, for one, experienced a coastal flood warning and its third highest tide on record, according to TIME. Now, as the Northeast gears up for another nor’easter, the full moon has receded, but floodwaters are still a threat. Recently flooded areas are in danger even if the tide is minor, reported the Boston Globe.

The outlook of coastal flooding is bleak. According to NASA, with climate change, oceans levels will rise. While high-tide flooding is typically intensified by storms, climate change may make it a reality on even clear days. Cities like Miami and Norfolk, Va., already are experiencing this phenomenon, reported NPR, and a NOAA report predicts that flooding will be a weekly event in some coastal parts of the country. Whether you believe in climate change or not, the oceans are rising, and tides are rising with them. Coastal flooding isn’t a reality of the future; it is happening now.

About the author

Lauren Baltas | Managing Editor | [email protected]