Miami Beach Prepares For Annual ‘King Tide’ Flooding And A Taste Of Future Sea Level Rise Reuters

By Zachary Fagenson and David Adams

MIAMI BEACH, Fla., Oct. 3 (Reuters) – Construction crews are wading into chest high pools of muck in a race against time to install pumps Miami Beach officials hope will help control an annual super-high tide threatening to flood south Florida’s popular seaside city next week.

Around Oct. 9, a so-called “King Tide” is expected to push almost an extra foot (30 cm) of water onto streets, going over sea walls and forcing residents to wade through flooded streets, an annual event causing widespread damage.

“It’s been a nightmare,” said Andreas Schreiner, who has seen past high tides bring water up to and even inside his group of neighborhood restaurants, causing tens of thousands of dollars in losses due temporary shut downs and cleanup.

The event, caused by the alignment of the sun, moon and Earth, provides a taste of the potential impact of a longer-term two-foot sea level rise predicted for south Florida by 2060, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The low-lying greater Miami area, with a population of 5.7 million, is one of the world’s most at-risk urban communities, scientists told a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing in April.

The King Tide is expected to rise to almost four feet. With seven miles of coastline, Miami Beach is already seeing more frequent salt-water street flooding at high tide, according to Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales.

To combat such widespread flooding, the city has set aside $300 million to 400 million to install up to 50 pumps in the coming years in what some say is a vain effort to protect an estimated $23 billion of real estate.

Bigger sea walls are not an option as Miami Beach’s flooding is caused largely by water rising underfoot through porous limestone bedrock. Officials concede pumping water back into the ocean is only a short-term solution.

Standing near four pumps that will each push 7,000 gallons per second when switched on, Miami Beach’s chief engineer, Bruce Mowry, said rising seas pose a constant challenge.

“The technology is never as effective as it was when you first installed it,” he said.

The city is also retrofitting 300 outflow valves that allow stormwater to drain into the bay, inserting plugs to prevent the reverse flow of sea water. Dunes are being reinforced with sea oats and engineers are looking into pumping water into underground storage.

Apart from these measures, Miami Beach has begun to develop a long-term plan for coping with sea level rise, including pushing developers to sacrifice street-level space for more elevated building designs.

“It’s a retreat up,” said Morales.

Doing so is critical to quell concerns of insurers and lenders backing the city’s blockbuster development.

“In order to keep the real estate market hot, we need to assure people who understand this that we are doing everything in our power,” Morales added. “Do you wait till it’s at your ankles and knees?” (Editing by David Adams and Steve Orlofsky)

Source: The Huffington Post

About Mike Neuman

Identical twin; Long-time advocate of protection of our environment; Married; Father to three sons; Grandfather to one granddaughter; Born and raised in Wisconsin; Graduate of University of Wisconsin; post graduate degrees in agricultural economics and Water Resources Management fro UWMadison; Former School Crossing Guard for City of Madison; Bike to Work for 31 years with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Retired from DNR in 2007; Biked to school crossing guard site 2 X daily for 7 years retiring in 2019; in addition to being an advocate of safeguarding our environment, I am also an advocate for humane treatment of animal, children, and people in need of financial resource for humane living. I am presently a Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Madison, Wisconsin. I oppose all long (>500 miles) distance travel (via fossil fuel burning) for nonessential purposes and all ownership of more than one home. I am opposed to militarism in any form particularly for the purpose of monetary gain. I am a Strong believer in people everywhere having the right to speak their minds openly, without any fear of reprisal, regarding any concerns; especially against those in authority who are not acting for the public good?in a timely fashion and in all countries of the world not just the U S.. My identical twin, Pat, died in June 2009. He was fired from his job with the National Weather Service despite having a long and successful career as a flood forecaster with the Kansas City National Weather Service. He took a new position in the Midwest Regional Office in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, Pat’s work for the NWS went sour after he began to see the evidence for concern about rising global temperatures shortly after relocating to Minneapolis, and how they appeared to effect of flooding on the Red River that flows out of Canada before entering the U.S. in North Dakota. . Pat and I conversed on a regular basis with other scientists on the Yahoo Group named “Climate Concern “ and by personal email. The NWS denied his recommendation to give his public presentation o n his research at the “Minneapolis Mall of America” in February 2000, which deeply affected h,im. I will h He strongly believed the information ought be shared with the public to which I concurred. That was the beginning of the vendetta against my brother, Patrick J. Neuman, for speaking strongly of the obligations the federal government was responsible for accurately informing the citizenry. A way great similar response to my raising the issue of too many greenhouse gases being emitted by drivers of vehicles on Wisconsin highway system, my immediate supervisors directed: “that neither global warming, climate change nor the long term impacts upon the natural resources of Wisconsin from expansion of the state highway system were to be any part of my job requirements, and that I must not communicate, nor in a memorandum to all the bureau, shall any person who works in the same bureau I do communicate with me, neither verbally on the phone, by email.

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