Weather: “One of the biggest tidal events of the past 10-20 years”, forecasters say


“Right now we expect this to be one of the worst tidal floods we have had in the past 10 or 20 years for many places in the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” Chris Strong, the meteorologist responsible for coordinating warnings at The National Weather Service (NWS) in Sterling, Va., Told CNN Weather. “The biggest impact we expect here in the Baltimore / Washington area and along the Chesapeake Bay is tidal flooding.”

Flooding is expected to peak on Friday and persist until Saturday. During this time, two to four feet of coastal flooding is likely.

The last time conditions were this bad was during Hurricane Isabel in 2003.

While Strong warns the flooding with Isabel was several feet higher than forecast for this storm, it will be one of the worst tidal events since that hurricane in 2003.

The river gauge for the Chesapeake Bay in Cambridge, Maryland is expected to reach more than 5 feet. That would make it the second highest tide on record, behind a height of 6.2 feet that was reached in 2003 during Isabel.
Another disturbing place is St George’s Creek at the Straits Point River gauge, where the current forecast calls for a maximum height of 5.2 feet, which places it above the threshold of major flooding. If he reached that level, he would break the previous all-time record of 4.56 feet set in 2018.
At just 3.5 feet, the water “historically covers the roads of ÃŽle Saint-Georges, is found in construction sites and near structures”, according to the national weather service.
“Water anomalies are already reaching 2 feet at Straits Point and increasing, and Annapolis has hovered around a minor flood level even as the astro tide moves towards low tide,” the NWS in Baltimore said.

On Thursday afternoon, the predicted peak for Annapolis City Dock is 5.1 feet. If the water level reaches 5 feet, there will be significant and widespread flooding along the lower Potomac and adjacent tidal tributaries. Many roads and structures would also be affected.

“At this water level, the historic Annapolis City wharf will be inundated and will look like St. Mark’s Square in Venice when inundated,” CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.
But even when the tide reaches only 4.2 feet, the Annapolis City Wharf Promenade is underwater. The water is also affecting several locations near the city wharf, including portions of Compromise Street and several streets on the Naval Academy campus.
If the water reaches 6 feet, there will be severe flooding in the Annapolis City wharf area and parts of the Naval Academy campus. Many roads and fields are usually flooded at this height and water seeps into several buildings.

“Usually when we have such extreme tidal events, it usually comes from hurricanes or tropical events,” Strong said. “It’s just low pressure coming in, but this strong low is working against the high pressure over New England to our north. This combination drives the easterly flow just off the Atlantic Ocean. and piles all that water from the Atlantic Ocean onto the shore and up the Chesapeake Bay. “

High wind warnings and wind advisories are also in effect for several counties, as wind gusts are expected to reach 60 mph.

“Destructive winds will bring down trees and power lines,” he added. warning says. “Widespread power outages are expected. Travel will be difficult, especially for high-end vehicles. “

It is important to note that for Chesapeake Bay in Cambridge, four of the five highest peaks on record have occurred since September 2003.

Chesapeake Bay at Windmill Point has recorded 8 of its 10 highest peaks on record since September 2006.

“Long-term sea level rise due to rising global and ocean temperatures resulting from climate change makes coastal flooding like this more frequent, with aggravating impacts from higher floods,” said Brandon Miller , CNN meteorologist and leader of the climate crisis.

“Sea level has risen nearly a foot since the early 1900s, raising the baseline from which these floods occur – pushing harmful flooding from storms into record-breaking territories that never occurred. than during the strongest storms such as hurricanes. “


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