Washington, DC Will See Daily Floods by 2045

Other east coast cities could flood hundreds of times per year: study
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2014 4:38 PM CDT
Washington, DC Will See Daily Floods by 2045
The US Capitol building is seen through the columns on the steps of the Supreme Court Monday, May 5, 2014.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Flooding due to high tides will become very routine on the East Coast by 2045, a study finds: In fact, Washington, DC and Annapolis, MD, will likely face "nuisance" floods more than once per day, researchers suggest. Cities like Miami and Atlantic City will see such floods about 240 days per year, while Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Charleston, SC, should brace for about 180 days of flooding. The study examines tidal, or "nuisance," flooding, which isn't necessarily a huge problem on its own, the Washington Post reports. But when it mixes with big storms, the results can be life-threatening.

Already, "in parts of New York City and elsewhere, homeowners are dealing with flooded basements, salt-poisoned yards, and falling property values, not only because of catastrophic storms, but because tides, aided by sea level rise, now cause flooding where they live," says the Union of Concerned Scientists, which conducted the study. Right now, tidal floods hit Washington, DC, and Annapolis fewer than 50 days per year. But at least one expert is questioning the details of the findings, noting that they're based on sea levels rising four feet by century's end. That level of rising is actually just one of four possibilities that climate scientists regularly put forward, NOAA oceanographer William Sweet tells the Post. (More flooding stories.)

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