NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – King Tide was here. It’s one of the highest tides of the year in the fall when the moon is closest to the earth.
Wetland’s Watch executive director Skip Stiles said the waters peaked around 11 a.m.
“Normally with a King Tide the water would be about a foot higher. With the northerly wind that we have today it will probably be about two feet higher,” Stiles said.
He says a lot can be learned from this event. Every year since 2017 when the King Tide arrives, they hold the Catch the King Citizen science event where volunteers collect flood data.
“We basically map where the rising tide goes, we map where the flood goes,” Stiles said.
Volunteers use a Sea Level Rise app on their phones to leave GPS markers showing the height of the water at its peak. From there, researchers and scientists can use this information for flood mitigation studies and plans.
“Researchers, what they’re able to do is test their models, they predict where the water is going to go, it helps them prove it. For planners like the city of Norfolk, it tells them that that area is flooded and it’s flooding exactly in that space, so when we fix it, we have to fix it, so we cover that whole area,” Stiles explained.
Stiles says not much has changed about high tide in the past few years, but they have a lot more data on flood extent than before. In the future, he hopes to expand the measures outside of Hampton Roads.
“There are teams on the North Pass, a few along the Potomac River, our goal is to rebuild the app in a few weeks. We want to take it to rural coastal areas because they need support. ‘mapping to come up with their plans,’” Stiles said.
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