Sea level rises cause concern in Beaufort, Port Royal

The Island News
By Kat Walsh
September 8, 2016

Rising sea levels and storm surges threaten Beaufort and Port Royal with more flooding, more shoreline erosion and more drowning of coastal wetlands.

Those concerns led to the formation of a group called the Beaufort and Port Royal Sea Level Rise Task Force, which is in the process of creating recommendations on how to deal with these important issues.

“It all started two years ago with a small group of interested and knowledgeable people in my living room,” said Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling.

The group is addressing sea level rise and storm surge, two troubling phenomena that are both affecting the area.  In Beaufort and Port Royal, for instance, the sea level has risen 6 inches since 1965.

Some of the first impacts of the sea level rising is more nuisance flooding, and a mixing of salt water with freshwater.

This problem is compounded by storm surge, which is the rise in water above the normal tide that occurs when winds from a storm push water towards the shore.

Timing matters:  If a storm occurs during high tide, a community will experience much more storm surge and flooding.  That in turn leads to impacts on property critical for families and businesses in the Southeast,” said FEMA Region IV Regional Administrator Gracia Szczech.

“Make preparedness a part of your everyday life.  Prepare for the hazards that are most likely to occur where you live and work.  Talk to your family and make a family disaster plan.  But don’t stop there.  Practice your plan.  Practicing in advance of a disaster makes you better prepared to handle any emergency you may encounter.”

Across the nation, disasters are occurring with greater frequency, and are larger and more complex.  Severe weather and other emergencies can strike with little or no warning and can have disastrous impacts.

Already this year, states across the Southeast have experienced destructive storms and flooding.  Eight named tropical cyclones have formed this season, and they serve as a reminder to be ready for hurricanes.

Download and use the free FEMA app, which provides valuable safety tips to help you prepare for and recover from more than 20 natural and man-made hazards.  The FEMA app lets you receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations across the nation, making it easy to follow severe weather that may be threatening your family and friends.

The app also provides family communication plans, a customizable checklist of emergency supplies and maps of open shelters and disaster recovery centers.  The app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.


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