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Report: High Tide Flooding Will Increase Along San Diego Coast

The ocean washes over rocks that are designed to keep the sea at bay in Imper...

Photo by Matthew Bowler

Above: The ocean washes over rocks that are designed to keep the sea at bay in Imperial Beach, Jan. 18, 2019.

Federal scientists warn sea level rise is already boosting the number of flooding incidents during high tides in Southern California.

High tide flooding is expected to become much more common in the coming years as sea levels rise.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists are out with a new report that found the San Diego region is expected to have five to nine days of high tide flooding this year.

The report predicts there will be even more flooding as sea levels rise.

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“High tide flooding is increasing every year,” said William Sweet, the report’s co-author. “And it’s something that communities are going to have to start to reckon with. And these reports are put out so communities can be best prepared for what to expect in terms of flooding today, tomorrow and the years to come.”

San Diego could see five to nine high tide flooding events this year. That is up sharply from the two incidents in 2000.

“The number of high tide floods per year is now growing at an accelerating pace,” Sweet said. ”Meaning, it is going up in leaps and bounds every year. El Ninos are even worse but sea level rise continues to cause these events to happen more often. They’re becoming deeper, more severe and more widespread in terms of impact.”

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The report predicts the region will have 10 to 15 high tide floods within 10 years. By 2050, there could be 30 to 60 incidents.

Sweet said NOAA looked at high tide flooding events around the country and found that there were a record number of incidents last year.

Those records will likely fall with regularity in the coming years, according to Sweet.

By Reporter Erik Anderson

San Diego is seeing an increase in the number of days that high tide flooding affects the coastal region.

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Photo of Erik Anderson

Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

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