Rising Tides: 5 Coastal Cities Facing Major Impacts

Photo credit: NASA

Due to the affects of global warming, sea levels have started to rise at a rapid rate. Globally the sea is rising at a rate of 3.6mm a year, but in some parts of the world it is rising at a much faster pace.

Many cities around the globe will be impacted by rising sea levels. Below are a few of the primary cities slated for a major impact in the United States.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Photo credit: FEMA/ New Orleans flooding after Hurricane Katrina August 2005

New Orleans is a city which has been hit by big storm after big storm in the past 20 years, Hurricane Katrina being the most notable one in 2005. What makes New Orleans so prone to flooding is the fact that some areas of the city lie 15 feet below the sea level. It also doesn’t help that the city is on a river delta and bordering the Atlantic Ocean. There was even a study conducted by NASA in 2016 shwoing some parts of the city are already sinking at a rate of 2 inches per year.

New York City, New York

Although all of New York City is at risk of flooding in the next 100 years, Queens is borough at greatest risk. As of now, it is estimated by the year 2045, 2700 homes may begin to experience chronic flooding in this borough. One of the five boroughs making up NYC, Queens has the largest land area and is second in terms of total population.

“Hurricane Sandy had a devastating impact across the city … 44 New Yorkers lost their lives, close to 90,000 buildings were in the inundation zone, 2 million people lost power and the city sustained close to $19 billion in damages” – Jainey Bavishi, Director of Recovery and Resiliency.

Jainey Bavishi, Director of Recovery and Resiliency

Miami, Florida

Inland flood threat increasing in South Florida | NSF - National Science  Foundation
Photo credit: National Science Foundation nsf.gov

Right now Miami is in a race against time to keep its city from becoming completely flooded. Already the city’s sea levels are rising fast enough to damage houses and roadways. It is estimated that in the next 30 years, 12,000 homes will become completely flooded, and that by 2100, the sea level will rise up to six feet, displacing 800,000 locals.

Charleston, South Carolina

Flooding in North Carolina
Photo credit: weather.gov

As sea levels continue to rise around the globe, some cities, like Charleston, South Carolina, will start to become completely underwater. Since 1950, the sea level off the city’s coastline has continued to rise. Currently it is roughly 10 inches higher. It is estimated that by the year 2050, 77% of the city’s population might be under water.

“Sea level will rise, storms will increase, and rainfall will be more intense as evidenced by recent hurricane-driven flooding disasters. This is the new normal and it is imperative to plan for these eventualities.”

Phillip Dustan, Professor, Department of Biology, College of Charleston; Faculty, University of Charleston

Virginia Beach

Photo credit: FEMA/

No city in America right now is facing higher rising sea levels than Virginia Beach. Virginia Beach is so at risk from flooding primarliy due to its location between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Right now it is estimated that the beach could see sea levels rise by up to 12 feet by the year 2100.

Sea Level Rise Since 1950

Sea level rise.org


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