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Sea Level Rise and Tidal Flooding Threaten Florida Communities

Florida Flood Insurance - Florida Property Insurance

As rising sea levels in Florida continue to ascend, flooding is expected to become more common. By 2030, Miami can expect the frequency of tidal flooding to increase nearly eightfold – from about six per year to more than 45 annually. Rising sea levels threaten coastlines all over the world, but when it comes to Florida, this threat is much more significant. Our sea levels are on the rise, and places like Miami will spend billions of dollars to combat this problem and protect their coastlines.

In a new warning from scientists, sea levels are rising faster than previously thought – much faster. A study by Columbia University’s famed climate scientist James Hansen predicts glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland will melt ten times faster than previous estimates, which could result in a sea level rise of at least 10 feet by the end of the century. The study paints an alarming picture for coastal cities.

In Florida, more than 2.4 million people live within four feet of the local high tide. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has predicted that by 2030 our oceans could see a 10 inch rise in water levels. Some people would debate that sea level is not a major problem, but even a few inches can have profound effects on local environments. For example, what once was a thriving pine forest on part of the Florida Keys island chain is now parched terrain where almost nothing can grow. Rising sea levels have made the ground water increasingly salty, destroying the eco-system. The island, which once supported fresh-water dependent wildlife, now does not support any fresh-water species.

The wells and aquifers in the area are being contaminated with sea water. According to Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs; “In our county alone we have seen the salt water infusion line continue to march ever higher. In the city of Ft. Lauderdale, it’s about 6 miles in. Everything on the other side of that salt water line, all those water wells, have been lost.”

The City of Miami has raised about $5 million to install pumps and raise city roads. But sooner or later they will have to face the fact that, one day, the population will have to leave the area. The pricing on home insurance in these regions has already seen a tremendous increase. Many residents in the area of coastal South Florida remain uninsured or under-insured. While some cities are taking an active approach to the risks associated with sea level rise, developers need to heed the warnings when they design their projects, making sure they have the appropriate plans, resources and financial structures in place to make sure they can absorb impending losses.

Lanier Upshaw, Inc. specializes in helping Florida homeowners and businesses assess their risk for flooding and other damage. Our trained experts will help you explore your risks and select the right policy for you. To learn more about how Lanier Upshaw, Inc. can help you cover your risks, contact us here.