King Tide floods the streets of South Florida

The jogging path at Oleta River Park disappeared under water. On Las Olas Boulevard, no wake signs meant for boaters suddenly popped up roadside. Stormwater gurgled through Miami Beach’s manhole covers.

Across South Florida over the weekend and early Monday, the seasonal king tide pushed the ocean to places where it didn’t belong.

On Twitter and Instagram, picture after picture showed drivers fording roads and water lapping at sidewalks in a state where more people, and more property, are expected to be at risk from sea rise than any other in the nation. By the end of the century, climate scientists say the seas could rise another three to four feet.

 In Coconut Grove Sunday, seawater started puddling on the Commodore Trail running path well before a tide that rose more than three feet up and down the coast. By 10 a.m., water had pushed over the seawall at the nearby Coconut Grove Sailing Club, inching toward sailboats perched on trailers.

On Virginia Key, gauges recorded tides at just above four feet Sunday, a foot above what was predicted. Indian Creek flooded Collins Avenue and Miami city officials tweeted a warning to drivers to avoid flooded streets. Around Fort Lauderdale, canals topped their walls.

“It gets higher every year,” said Guido Peña, who works at Campeones Marina in Miami at Northwest Seventh Avenue and Sixth Street, where water was shin deep Monday morning. “I imagine it will be worse next year.”

In Miami Beach, where tidal flooding has soared 400 percent since 2006, the city is in the midst of a sea rise protection plan expected to cost about $500 million. Considered a leader in resiliency efforts, four new pumps once again helped keep parts of the city dry.

“Areas that two years ago were completely immersed and would require a kayak to cross the street were extremely dry,” said Mayor Philip Levine. They included Indian Creek Drive, Alton Road, North Bay Road and parts of Sunset Harbor, he said.

The city also issued a warning to residents and visitors to avoid storm water after coming under criticism earlier this year for doing too little to clean the polluted run-off.

“We want to continue to monitor and clean,” the water, he said. “We’re not perfect yet by any means. And we strive for perfection. But we’re writing the book as we go along.”


 

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