Today was one of the highest tides we’ve seen in six years topping out at just over 8 feet (our normal high is just under 6 feet). Roads all over the metro area were submerged and shut down, making traveling for two hours on either side of the high tide like playing a game of Frogger. Yeah – you can get to the other side, but you better watch out! A confluence of the harvest moon, winds off the coast, and normal Fall higher-than-normal tide created what we call a King Tide.
While you usually see typical Charleston nuisance flooding at high tides coinciding with heavy rains, today (and yesterday too) it was blue skies and puffy white clouds. So even though there was nary a drop of rain, with a King Tide, the extra water has nowhere to go. It just burbled up and spilled over into whichever concrete roadway might be in its path.
Check out this fantastic photo from the Historic Charleston Foundation’s Instagram page, (follow them – they have good stuff) taken on East Bay Street behind our massive seawall!
This nuisance flooding seems to be happening more often, and it turns out, there may be a reason for that.
Jason Emory Parker, the interactive editor at the Post and Courier, researched the mean sea level in Charleston harbor, averaged by month over the last 93 years, and found it had increased by 1 foot, 9 inches. That’s a lot of water people. Check out their great interactive animation of sea levels over time.
And according to this Charleston City Paper article from yesterday, ‘Worst Flooding Still to Come’,
Last year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that Charleston ranked seventh among U.S. cities in nuisance flooding. Since around 1960, the city has experienced a 409 percent increase in average flood days with rates accelerating since the 1980s.
So – there you have it. 7th in the nation is not a place where we want to be, but I say, we can’t do much about it, so let’s just embrace it. Let’s create some beautiful canals. Let’s have a little Venice! Here’s a funny (photoshopped) photo courtesy of Charleston Mix from a month or so ago at the corner of Meeting and Calhoun.
And by the way, Charleston Mix makes the best Bloody Mary mix in the Southeast. You might need to get you one and sit a spell, while you watch the water come in.