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Climate Change Challenges

Chronic Tidal Flooding

Climate change is causing greater chronic tidal flooding in New York City’s low-lying coastal communities.

Climate change is causing greater chronic tidal flooding (also called sunny day flooding), which occurs when water from regular tides breach the land, even without storms. This impacts New York City’s low-lying coastal communities, and greater impacts are expected in the future due to increases in sea level. Sea level in New York City has already risen at least 18 inches since the 1850s and could rise as much as another 6 feet by 2100. Sections of the city’s coastline will be subject to daily tidal flooding by the 2050s. Some low-lying neighborhoods are already experiencing chronic tidal flooding due to astronomical high tides.

Projected Sea Level Rise

Chronic tidal flooding, sometimes called sunny day flooding, in New York City’s coastal communities happens during when water from regular tides breach the land. As sea level rises, higher tides will more frequently impact low-lying coastal areas, especially those around Jamaica Bay. By the 2080s, large portions of certain coastal neighborhoods could flood more than every other week on average. This is projected to impact 86,000 units in 1-2 family buildings, 55% of which are in communities around Jamaica Bay. Chronic tidal flooding has the potential to impact homes and businesses, and it already causes disruptions to New Yorkers day-to-day lives.

Chronic Tidal Flooding Impacts

Homes and apartment buildings in areas exposed to chronic flooding could become unsafe for residents, and flooding can damage homes and people’s belongings. Building materials that are exposed to chronic tidal flooding may retain moisture, which, left untreated, can cause mold to develop and expose residents to respiratory diseases.

New Yorkers, particularly older residents and those with limited mobility, could also face challenges accessing health services and other services, because increasingly frequent chronic flooding impacts their ability to move around the neighborhood and access critical services. Salt water from higher tides can also corrode infrastructure and permanently damage electrical equipment. This can have longstanding impacts in the city. Community facilities, such as libraries and senior centers, may become temporarily unusable during future high-tide events and face long-term repair and construction fees.

Persistent flooding threatens businesses in low-lying areas of New York City. Chronic tidal flooding in commercial areas could lead to building damage and even force business owners to close and relocate. For small businesses that depend on a local clientele, a reduction in foot-traffic during periods of chronic flooding may cut into the business’s profit margins or viability. A relocation may mean starting a business all over again.

 

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