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San Diego Group Highlights Dangers Of Rising Sea Levels

Reported by Nick Mcvicker

Dozens of volunteers fanned out today near the roller coaster in Mission Beach to draw attention to the impact sea level rise could have on low-lying beach areas in San Diego county.

With chalk in their hands, dozens of volunteers fanned out along the beach near the roller coaster at Belmont Park in Mission Bay on Monday to draw lines and attention to the impact of sea level rise.

After New York’s HighWaterLine art project, San Diego’s Mission Beach was one of several communities across the country holding similar events. San Francisco, New York and Miami also used art to address climate change.

Researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography predict a combination of high tides and big storms will cause massive flooding within the next 35 years. That's why volunteers with SanDiego350 were using chalk along the Mission Boulevard sidewalk to illustrate those threats.

Walking, running, or biking in Mission Beach could one day be threatened by king tides, which cause strong rip currents and lead to flooding in low-lying areas along the beaches.

The timing of the art project was appropriate as the National Weather Service predicted morning high tides topped by large waves could lead to some minor beach flooding Tuesday and Wednesday along the San Diego County shoreline.

The high tide could reach 7 feet at 8:21 a.m. tomorrow in La Jolla, with possible flooding at beach parking lots and nearby streets in La Jolla, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Cardiff-by-the-Sea and Imperial beach, according to the NWS. The high tide will lower to 6.7 feet on Wednesday.

On top of those tides, waves are expected to be 4-6 feet with local sets of 7 feet, according to the forecast.

Business owner Jason Daung has experienced flooding before. He pointed out a trouble spot at his business.

"You can see even a small minor flood. There's still puddles right here," he said.

Like the mercury in a thermometer, scientists say the sea is rising now because water expands as it warms. They also say those higher temperatures are melting glaciers and sea ice at a faster rate worldwide. Organizers say supporting green energy initiatives and driving less would help reduce the problem.

"Now people don't think about longevity, they think about what happens tomorrow," Daung said. "And you guys represent what happens in the future to come and its impact, so either take care of the solution now, or if you do it when it happens, it's already too late."

Ellen Speert, one of the chalk volunteers, said she believes action needs to happen now.

"Coronado, South Bay and La Jolla are most at risk with the water rise. With just one and a half feet of sea level rise, which is what's anticipated in the very near future, all of this will be underwater every high tide," Speert added.

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