The highest high tides of the year, known as King Tides, have made headlines in South Florida over the years as floodwater swamped roads, ruined cars and turned parks into lakes. This year, however, at the height of the season’s annual tides, they barely caused a ripple.
The combination of a reprieve from nature, with almost a foot less water washing ashore in low-lying parts of Miami-Dade, and proactive engineering work from South Florida cities allowed the region to scrape by with minimal disruption from flooding.
Miami spent weeks before the tide installing valves and temporary plugs that block seawater from creeping in. At the flood-prone Jose Marti Park in Miami, water from the Miami River wasn’t even over the edge of the park’s sea wall at high tide. The city’s temporary tidal dams and sandbags sat unused. Last year, water spilled onto the sidewalk.
Michael Sukop, a professor with FIU’s Department of Earth and Environment, noted that the stream that carries Atlantic Ocean water north past the east coast of Florida, was moving much more slowly this time last year. A slower current has less of a gravitational pull on the water within it, allowing more to slosh onto shore.
The King Tide season is not over, however, the region is due for another round of King Tides in November. Also, if a tropical storm or hurricane were to head towards the east coast at that time, it could make up the difference and lead to more flooding.
Click here to read the full article on the Miami Herald.