Another thread we've been hammering for a awhile.
A common, perhaps even the standard framing of rising sea levels is that it's a existential threat for all coastal cities, and while I understand the desire not to downplay the crisis, this isn't true. For cities with relatively high elevations like Los Angeles (a few low-lying neighborhoods, but most of it hundreds and some of it thousands of feet above sea-level) or cities with at least moderate elevations and little danger from tropical cyclones (like almost all major cites on the West Coast), we are talking about a problem but not a catastrophe (The remnants of hurricanes we do see in California are generally more good news than bad. Kay broke our recent heat wave and gave some relief to firefighters). Some beaches will be lost and a few people will have to relocate, but compared to drought and triple-digit temperatures, that's a fairly manageable situation.
Of course, the real tragedy of this framing is not that it overstates the threat to the West Coast, but that it dangerously understates the immediate and genuinely existential threat to many cities on the East and Gulf Coasts.
• Storm surge: Some 12 to 18 feet of seawater pushed onto land is forecast Wednesday for the coastal Fort Myers area, from Englewood to Bonita Beach, forecasters said. Only slightly less is forecast for a stretch from Bonita Beach down to near the Everglades (8 to 12 feet), and from near Bradenton to Englewood (6 to 10 feet), forecasters said.
Lower – but still life-threatening – surge is possible elsewhere, including north of Tampa and along Florida’s northeast coast near Jacksonville.
What's happening in in Fort Meyers is horrifying...
I can't overstate how serious the storm surge threat is in southwest Florida. #Ian will drive deadly surge into Cape Coral and Fort Myers, placing much of the area under water. If you live near the ocean in a surge zone, this is your last chance to leave... pic.twitter.com/FefKkoltd3— Evan Fisher (@EFisherWX) September 28, 2022
But imagine what an eighteen foot storm surge would do to the slightly higher but far more populous Jacksonville.
10 ft (3 m)
• Total 86,395
16 ft (5 m)
• Total 949,611
And while we're at it...
6 ft (1.8 m)
• Total 442,241
These storms are going to get stronger and the seas will continue to rise for the foreseeable future. Look up the elevation for cities that are likely to be hit by hurricanes. Anything less than twenty-five or thirty feet is basically playing Russian Roulette.
Absolutely wild. All of this in the eye, in which we circled for some time to deploy the UAS (uncrewed aerial system).— Tropical Nick Underwood (@TheAstroNick) September 28, 2022
A high end Cat 4 storm. Nearly Cat 5.
All of this at 8,000 feet above the ocean. I’m glad we only did one pass. pic.twitter.com/hd2L7icLQY