Break out the waders. On Monday, a seasonal king tide powered by the largest supermoon in nearly seven decades is expected to trigger flooding up and down the South Florida coast.
The moon, which normally circles about 238,000 miles from the earth, will swing about 17,000 miles closer over the weekend, NASA scientist Noah Pedro said in a webcast. In South Florida, that trajectory coincides with seasonal high tides expected to be their highest on Monday.
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Depending on location, timing of the tides varies. Miami Beach officials expect tides to peak at 8:23 a.m. and 8:34 p.m. Monday. In Miami at Dinner Key Marina, they should arrive about 8:55 a.m. and 9:07 a.m.
The high water comes less than a month after another tide swamped much of South Florida, sending water over seawalls, submerging much of Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale and triggering warnings not to wade through dirty stormwater.
Since 2006, occurrences of tidal flooding in Miami Beach have soared 400 percent, an increase mirrored along much of the coast. By the close of the century, scientists predict seas fueled by climate change will rise globally by three to four feet.
To try to stem the rise, President Barack Obama signed on to a United Nations climate agreement last year to reduce carbon emissions. Participating countries and climate activists are now meeting in Morocco to hash out how the agreement will be implemented, although President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to pull out of the deal. At a press conference on Wednesday, Alden Meyer, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, warned that withdrawing could have damaging consequences.
“No country can be perceived as not doing their fair share,” he said.
While flooding, which could begin Sunday, will likely make things soggy underfoot, up above promises to be spectacular, Pedro said. Such a close pass means the moon will appear about 14 percent bigger and glow about 30 percent brighter. It will be closest about 6:30 a.m. Monday, but Pedro said viewing should be good most of the weekend and Monday night.
If you miss it, you’ll have to survive a few more elections for another such spectacle. The next time the moon pays such a close visit will be 2034.