Miami braces for King Tide floods

High tides occur during storms; high tides occur when it is warm. The proximity of the Moon makes the oceans swarm. High tides in the fall are the norm.

Dr. Seuss jokes aside, the nightmare of sunny weather flooding known as the royal tide is upon us once again. High tides are caused by the alignment of the sun and moon and their proximity to the Earth – gravitational attraction causes abnormally high water levels.

Low-lying areas of South Florida, especially along the coast, can expect to see flooded streets starting today. The high tides will peak this weekend and are forecast until next Thursday. Brian McNoldy, a weather researcher at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, tweeted that Sunday would see the highest tides of the year.

Flooding in Miami Beach, where cars are often stuck and businesses pile up sandbags to keep water at bay, will peak Saturday and Sunday. The tides there will reach 3.27 to 3.78 feet, according to projections by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Consider investing in a kayak if you have to go somewhere important.

According to NOAA, high tides provide a glimpse of future average water levels as sea levels continue to rise.

Yesterday the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a grim special report on how the oceans will be affected by climate change. The report says global sea levels rose nearly six inches during the 20th century and are now rising at twice that rate and accelerating.

The report says sea level rise will increase the frequency of “extreme sea level events”, such as high tides and storms. Flood risks, ocean temperatures, tropical cyclone winds, rainfall and storm surges are only expected to increase, threatening coastal areas and potentially wiping out island nations. The report urges countries to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the potentially catastrophic scale of ocean change.

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