King tides rise again, South Florida under a coastal flood advisory

A full moon Sunday coupled with pounding surf from Category 3 Hurricane Nicole has pushed gurgling Intracoastal water into South Florida streets once again.

The annual so-called King tides showed themselves in force this morning when high tide rose around 7 a.m.

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Streets in West Palm Beach along Flagler Drive were submerged this morning to the curb in some areas, but the most impacted regions in Palm Beach County tend to be in Boca Raton and Delray Beach where fish swim in front yards and cars are forced from driveways for fear of saltwater damage.

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Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach as high tide peaks on the morning of Oct. 13, 2016

Forecasters predicted higher tides this month as the full moon, plus its close orbit to Earth, teased them beyond boundaries built by man.

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The so-called “nuisance” flooding is temporary, some forecasters said it’s likely an eye-opener for people who may not have realized what a few inches of water can mean to a coastal area.

NOAA measurements taken from a buoy off Lake Worth show sea levels rising at 3.36 millimeters per year, or 1.10 feet in 100 years. That’s similar to readings at Marathon Key that show a 3.34 millimeter increase per year, and Tampa, which is measuring an annual increase of 3.15 millimeters.

Fish swim on Marine Way in Delray Beach as Intracoastal overtakes seawall. Photo by Kimberly Miller

Fish swim on Marine Way in Delray Beach as Intracoastal overtakes seawall in October 2015. Photo by Kimberly Miller

It’s considerably below New Orleans, which is experiencing a 9.03 millimeter rise in sea levels per year, or 3 feet over 100 years.

Still, the impact on South Florida is evident any time more than one power combines to embolden coastal waters.

“A few inches matters in South Florida when we have such a low land elevation,” said Jayantha Obeysekera, chief modeler for hydrologic and environmental systems at the South Florida Water Management District last year.

In West Palm Beach this morning, flooding on Flagler Drive greeted rush hour drivers and water crept into George S. Petty Park on Flagler between Belvedere Road and Southern Boulevard.

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Marine Way in Delray Beach, Nov. 25, 2015 during full moon high tide.

Marine Way in Delray Beach, Nov. 25, 2015 during full moon high tide.

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