In South Florida, one of the surest signs the onset of fall isn’t changing leaves or a chill in the air – it’s salt water piling up. on the street on a sunny day.
September marks the start of an annual series of high tide days, the highest tides of the season. These “royal tides” push sea levels a foot or two higher than normal, causing flooding in streets and yards in low-lying places along the east coast, like Miami.
These high tides are a natural occurrence during new and full moons, but runaway climate change makes them worse. As sea levels rise, flooding becomes more frequent and worse. A neighborhood in the Keys has seen 90 straight days of flooded streets during a particularly nasty tidal season.
The combination of higher water levels with leaking septic tanks and Miami’s aging sewage system also means floodwaters could be quite coarse. Experts strongly suggest staying out of it.
Cities are spending tens of millions of dollars to slow it down with more powerful stormwater pumps, bigger pipes, higher roads and special valves that allow water to flow from city streets into Biscayne Bay but prevent it from flowing back when the tides rise. Despite the influx of money, it will be years before most residents see relief from the constant flooding.
The first royal tide of the season is on Saturday when the moon is full, but the days before and after this peak are usually higher as well.
Other major tidal windows for the year are September 27-30, October 6-12, October 24-30, November 6-9, and November 23-27. The highest royal tide of the season is expected to occur around 10 a.m. on October 10, when sea levels could be nearly two and a half feet higher than normal.
Rain – or tropical storms and hurricanes – on top of these high tides can cause even more flooding.
It can wreak havoc on the roads. On some extra soggy days, tow trucks are a common sight near flooded streets, pulling out broken down cars that have gone too deep. Anything over three feet of water is enough to float a car.
In Miami Beach, where these floods can conquer entire streets for days, residents of particularly flood-prone streets can sign up for free temporary parking somewhere where their car will stay dry. The city is also alerting residents to road closures due to flooding.
Amy Knowles, the city’s resilience officer, said Miami Beach has 12 temporary stormwater pumps ready to deploy, and city workers have already cleaned out the entire stormwater system to make sure they don’t. ensure clogs do not cause further flooding.
“All stormwater pumping stations have been inspected, cleaned and adjusted,” she wrote in an email.
Minus the impact of rain, wind, or tropical storms, royal tide flooding in South Florida generally occurs in the same locations. In a newsletter for residents warning them of high tides, Miami Beach lists the following hotspots:
▪ West Avenue and Eighth Street
▪ First Street and Alton Road
▪ South Pointe Drive and Washington Avenue
▪ 44th Street and Post Avenue (Muss Park area)
▪ North Bay Road from 43rd to 63rd Street
▪ Bonita Drive
▪ Marseille Drive and Notre Dame Street
▪ Boulevard Crespi and 79th terrace
Miami tracks repeat flood spots through a paid partnership with ISeeChange, a company that asks residents to report flooding, heat and other climate-related impacts on its app. So far, the city has identified the following areas as prone to flooding:
▪ Coconut Grove: South Bayshore Drive and streets south of it
▪ Brickell: Brickell Bay Drive, Brickell Avenue, Mary Brickell Village neighborhood
▪ Downtown and Edgewater: Biscayne Boulevard south of Northeast 20th Street, North Bayshore Drive along Margaret Pace Park, streets east of Biscayne Boulevard between I-395 and I-195
▪ Miami River: South River Drive along the Sewell Park area
▪ Melrose: Northwest 36th Street and streets south of it, east of Northwest 25th Avenue
▪ Upper Eastside: Morningside neighborhood, Shorecrest neighborhood east of 10th Avenue NE
To report a flood:
In Miami Beach
▪ If you see standing water for more than 48 hours, call the MB Control Room at 305-673-7625.
▪ If you encounter flooding that is obstructing access or causing damage to public or private property, report it through the Miami Beach e-Gov app or email [email protected]
▪ Report King Tides in your neighborhood using ISeeChange.
This story was originally published September 9, 2022 12:30 p.m.