Could High Water Levels Become Normal on the Crystal Coast?

CARTERET COUNTY --Precipitation change is something everyone is noticing.

"Some parts of the U.S. that we've noticed have become more drought-like...and other places we have rain that tends to be more flashy if you will," said Christine Voss, research associate for UNC Institute of Marine Sciences.

High tides are causing coastal flooding daily. What could this mean?

"You've heard of the storm in South Carolina being a once in a thousand year flood. Floyd they said was a once in a 500-year flood. Well, with climate change ...these events are expected to occur more frequently and perhaps more intensely," said Voss.

Through The NC King Tides Project, researchers with UNC Institute of Marine Sciences are collecting data to understand what could be contributing factors.

"By documenting this information, it helps us better understand the forcing mechanisms that actually influence the water levels. It allows us to also improve our models," said Voss.  

This is a citizens science project too. Researchers in Carteret County would like for residents in the area to send photos of high water levels that they see through using Flickr.

"People know their neighborhoods better than the weathermen...better than the news men. So, yes, we would like to hear...what changes are you seeing in your neighborhood and ultimately we want to start the conversation of how are we going to deal with our changing coast."

"All the shop owners on Front Street in Beaufort were fortifying last week against the storm. They had sandbags out and boards up...so for them it's a very real problem," said Christine Burnes, research technician.

A real problem we could experience every day.

"The higher water level events, the poorly draining parking lots, the water that sits around your house are things that are probably going to become the new normal," said Voss.

If you would like to learn more about NC The King Tides Project, click here.

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