East Coast to be hit with more high-tide flooding, study projects

The flooding that occurred after Hurricane Katrina may affect other parts of the East Coast because of high tides, according to a new estimate.

Though high tides usually occur once a day for an undetermined period of time, they may soon transpire so frequently and be so lengthy that it could lead to serious flooding issues all along the East Coast, according to a new report released by a team of environmental scientists.

Flooding during high tides is forecast to become so commonplace that it could lead to a lot of coastal property being rendered uninhabitable, based on recent analysis performed by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The study, "Encroaching Tides: How Sea Level Rise and Tidal Flooding Threaten U.S. East and Gulf Coast Communities over the Next 30 Years," was performed with the help of so-called tidal gauges from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that were set up all along the Atlantic, from Portland in Maine to Freeport in the Lone Star State of Texas. Using the gauges to get an idea of how sea levels may rise in the future, researchers said that in the next 15 years, the majority of the towns could see the number of high-tide floods increase by 300 percent and jump ten-fold by 2034.

"This report shows that, within the timeframe of a 30-year mortgage, many East Coast communities will see dramatic changes in the number and severity of tidal floods each year, unless, of course, successful steps are taken to manage those floodwaters," said Erika Spanger-Siegfried, co-author of the report and UCS senior analyst.

Generally speaking, lenders typically require that borrowers secure homeowners insurance as a hedge in the event an environmental disaster causes damage to a residence. Though flood insurance falls under the property insurance umbrella, it's usually not a standard component of most home insurance plans.

Flooding may become weekly event

As sea levels rise, the more likely high-tide flooding will become problematic, the UCS report revealed. For example, in the next 30 years, the towns analyzed could see a minimum of 48 floods a year, which translates to four floods per month. Some of the towns where flooding is common could see as much as 100 floods a year, or roughly eight floods every 30 days.

Floods are the No. 1 natural disaster in the U.S., according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In 2012, more than 63,800 flood claims stemmed from New Jersey, more than any other state. Texas, Maryland, and Virginia were also among the 10 states where flood claims were the most common.