King Tides and Sea-level Rise are Flooding Communities Along the East Coast

By Matthew Cappucci.

Despite tranquil weather to start this week, flooding has affected coastal communities from the Florida Keys to Maine. Long stretches of shoreline along the East Coast were inundated, water levels running a foot or more above normal. The swollen sea temporarily claimed streets, parking lots and public parks, and even seeped into homes, reminiscent of a storm surge.

But there was no storm to be found. In fact, many places enjoyed pleasant weather and sunshine. Yet coastal flood advisories plastered the coast, forcing road closures and flooding properties.
The culprit? King tides. A name informally attached to extra-high tides spurred by astronomical alignments, king tides often reach their peak in the fall. Decades ago, their impact was minimal. But added to the background of climate-driven sea-level rise, nowadays they are routinely problematic.