Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Point of View; More Action Needed on Flooding

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Point of View; More Action Needed on Flooding

Article excerpt

Byline: Matthew Eby

Jacksonville, we have a problem.

We all know that as Hurricane Irma passed through Florida last month, Jacksonville experienced record-setting flooding. If you think the flooding has been getting worse the last few years, you're right. Flooding has increased 400 percent in the past 10 years.

To better understand the situation, let's set aside hurricanes and take a look at flooding that comes from high tides.

From 1997-2006, Northeast Florida experienced 21 days of flooding from high tides alone.

From 2007-2016, this dramatically increased to 71 days of flooding.

So what made these 10 years so different from the previous 10 years?

Four inches of sea level rise. Just four inches!

That may not seem like a lot, but if you picture a bathtub filled to the brim, you can imagine that just a few additional inches of water would cause the water to spill over and flood the entire bathroom.

EVIDENCE ALL AROUND FLORIDA

Since sea levels have steadily risen over the years, coastal areas are experiencing more frequent and severe flooding, even on sunny days.

Not only is this "sunny day" flooding a nuisance, but it can affect our local economy, since employees may not be able to get to work and consumers may not be able to shop.

It is likely that you may have experienced traffic from closed roads due to flooding; perhaps even had your own car and home flooded. These situations are unpleasant and expensive.

The bigger problem is that flooding is expected to get worse.

Over the past decade, the speed of Florida's sea level rise has tripled, and is predicted to continue accelerating. It took 66 years for the sea level to rise eight inches, and scientists estimate that the sea level could increase another eight inches in the next 20 years.

Rising sea levels pose a significant risk to homeowners mainly because flood insurance is separate from homeowners insurance. …

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