Charleston saw an increase in coastal flooding in 2019

Weather News

Time and time again this is the scene across downtown Charleston roads. Flooding has become a new normal for us.  

The amount of Coastal flooding events has increased significantly over this last year, 2015 held the highest number of coastal events, with 58 events. Until 2019 which increased to 89 coastal events.  

Blair Holloway, a meteorologist at our local National Weather Service office, says this confirms the idea that sea levels are rising. 

“So it just confirms what we think is happen and it’s easy to image going forward, that that number. There is no real reason to think that number is going to go down.” 

The number of coastal flooding events is not expected to decrease, but what may need to be adjusted is the level at which advisories are issued.  

Right now the predicted tidal level needs to reach 7 feet for a coastal flood advisory to be issued, based on past observations, this is when the coastal areas start to see minor flooding.  For the last 100 years, levels have been monitored at the Charleston Harbor gage. 

“It’s possible, we are definitely considering whether or not those levels are still appropriate or not but we will be meeting with people of the city of Charleston and Charleston County, anyone that involved with any kind of emergency management officials, we will be talking with them to make sure those levels are appropriate. So we are issuing advisory that really means something.” 

Holloway says the number of events, depends a lot on the type weather pattern in place, it’s not all tropical systems.  

“Typically to get a really high-high tide, we need good to kind of moderate to strong northeast flow along the coast. We typically see that when we have big areas of high pressure over New England or if we have a coastal area of Low pressure that passes just off the coast. So if we need more of those types of setups then we will end of usually having more events than we would say in a year where we have less of those types.” 

The next step is to break down what else is contributing to the increase in our coastal flooding events. Next week we break down how sea-level rise and a warming climate impact flooding in the Lowcountry. For Storm Team 2 I’m Meteorologist Arielle Whooley  

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