The annual king tides are beginning to rise in South Florida, submerging docks, flooding low-lying streets and spilling over seawalls.
The tides are not expected to peak until Monday, but offshore winds from Hurricane Nicole are causing local water to swell about a flood over predictions, giving the region a preview of the rising tides.
“It’s going to raise the sea a little bit higher,” said Barry Baxter, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami.
The weather service warned of mild coastal flooding around high tide Wednesday evening and Thursday. Thursday morning’s high tide is expected to swell around 7 a.m.
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Wednesday evening, residents across South Florida posted pictures of rising water on social media.
Seasonal tidal flooding is nothing new, but scientists say the tides are inching higher amid sea level rise fueled by climate change. A study published early this year found that more than six million Floridians are at risk if the sea level rises six feet by 2100, a worst-case scenario. The most conservative estimate of three feet by 2100 could displace 4.3 million.
In areas like Miami Beach, where a $300 million anti-flooding program to install electric pumps and raise roads is under way to safeguard the city’s real estate, former flooding hot spots like Sunset Harbour did not flood. Last week, when the city failed to ensure six pumps in the neighborhood were running during a flash thunderstorm — only one of the six was working — businesses took on water.
But areas where improvements have yet to be made are still flood-prone, and many swaths of coastal South Florida can expect to see water rise at high tide through the weekend. These images are from Coral Gables and St. Lucie Village in St. Lucie County.