North Carolina Homes Face Chronic Flooding in the next 30 years

A report from the Union of Concerned Scientists projects chronic flooding for 15,000 homes on North Carolina coast.

15,000 North Carolina Homes Face Chronic Flooding in the next 30 years
June 20, 2018

Sea Level Rise in North Carolina

It’s a good time to be living on higher ground. It’s also a good time to start planning if you live or own property on the North Carolina coast. Those are the findings in a new report on sea level rise published this week by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Find infographics related to the report here.

The report says in 30 years, more than 15,000 North Carolina homes will experience chronic flooding, which means flooding every other week. About two thousand of those homes are in Nags Head and Hatteras.

“The properties that face chronic inundation are also properties that provide significant contributions to the local tax base” says Erika Spanger-Siegfried, climate analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists. “And as we know, the local tax base is critical to providing local services, so we wanted to provide people with enough information to explore the local implications of what is going to be happening in 30 years. After all, 30 years for many people is the length of time of a mortgage.”

It’s all because of sea level rise and climate change: oceans are warming, ice caps are melting, and temperatures are rising. The report says sea level rise is happening fastest along the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico, where changes in the path and strength of ocean currents combined with areas where land is subsiding allows the ocean to move farther inland.

On average, the UCS says sea levels have risen about eight inches since 1880. The most likely scenario is a rise of six to 16 inches above current levels. The report urges low lying coastal communities to invest in thorough mapping to guide long term planning and flood prevention measures.



—Frank Graff 

Frank Graff is a producer/reporter with UNC-TV, focusing on Sci Tech Now North Carolina, a weekly science series that airs Tuesdays on UNC-TV. In addition to producing these special segments, Frank will provide additional information related to his stories through this North Carolina Science Now Reporter's Blog!

Related Resources:

Video: Here Comes the Sea.