Nowadays, the city of Miami Beach finds parts of itself underwater about eight times a year. In fact, a "King Tide," during which flooding is usually the worst, is expected for tomorrow. Right now that's a pain in the butt, but according to a new study by the Union of Concerned Scientists things will only get worse. Much worse.
The study estimated that by 2030 Miami Beach will experience 45 floods a year, an eight-fold increase. By 2045, they expect Miami Beach to be flooded 260 times a year, a 40-fold increase.
According to Reuters, the annual King Tide occurs every fall due to the alignment of the sun, Earth and moon. Usually it occurs during a new or full moon when the moon is orbiting closest to the Earth. In Miami Beach that means it brings an additional foot of seawater onto the shores during high tide. It's expected to happen tomorrow, and the city of Miami Beach hopes recent infrastructure upgrades will be up to the test to handle the influx.
Though, the Union of Concerned Scientists warns that Miami Beach should get ready for an increased influx of tides as well. Based on intermediate estimations on sea level rises, the groups "Encroaching Tides" reports that Miami Beach's flooding problem could eventually be a nearly year-long nuisance.
Those floods could also inundate greater portions of the island.
Here are the areas most prone to flooding during high tide now, in turquoise:
And here's the areas that could be vulnerable by 2045.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Though the report lauds some steps the city, county and state have taken to plan for rising sea levels, it warns that its not enough.
"No one wants to pay increased taxes or fees, but if people want to live here, we have to make these investments to do all the stuff that needs to be done so that we can stay habitable," writes former County Commissioner Katy Sorenson, now of the University of Miami's Good Government Initiative, in the report.
But hey, at least they're optimistic, ending the section on Miami and Miami Beach with, "If leaders can create a broad vision for resilience in the face of sea level rise, the region could serve as a model -- nationally and beyond."