Unusually high tide, aging drains mean flooding in Miami Beach

Officials: Fixing aging infrastructure will cost about $200 million

Published On: Oct 15 2012 03:15:20 PM EDT   Updated On: Oct 16 2012 11:31:34 AM EDT
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -

Scientists and Miami Beach officials are blaming area flooding not on rain, but rather an unusually hide tide and a half-century old drainage system.

As salty bay water seeped up into storm drains and flooded Miami Beach Monday night, orange cones had been placed along Alton Road and sandbags were stacked at entrances to nearby businesses.

"I'm having a hard time. I literally went all the way around and got my shoes wet and everything," said Taylor Lange.

Alton Road at 10th Street was already covered by water at high tide Monday morning.

A block away, surveillance cameras at Miami Beach Liquors captured water covering the sidewalk.

Just north, at the Miami Beach Crossfit, water came close to the entrance where sandbags are on hand.

"We've had the sandbags here just in case any of the flooding comes in. There's been a lot of rain," said manager Raymond Irizarry

Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said fall high tides are expected to be unusually high the next few days.

The warning prompted business owners and residents on Miami Beach to remember record-breaking flooding in June of 2009, when the perfect storm of heavy rain, an outdated storm drain system, and high tide flooded stores and stalled hundreds of cars.

The City of Miami Beach is in the middle of fixing its nearly half-century-old drainage infrastructure. City officials said all of the work to fix the aging infrastructure will cost about $200 million. So far, $60 million has already been allocated to cover storm drain improvements. However, residents may have to wait 20 years to see the entire system changed.

NOAA predicts tides to be at their highest October 15th through the 18th, and November 13th and 16th. On those days, the tides are expected to be 9 to 11 inches above the average high tides for 2012.

Tide Table - Government Cut Tide Station

DateDayTimeTidal Height (ft)Approx Height Above Average High Tide for 2012 (in)
10/14/2012Sun08:11AM3.39
10/15/2012Mon09:00AM3.410
10/16/2012Tues09:49AM3.511
10/17/2012Wed10:39AM3.511
10/18/2012Thurs11:31AM3.410
10/19/2012Fri12:25PM3.39
11/13/2012Tues07:40AM3.39
11/14/2012Wed08:31AM3.410
11/15/2012Thurs09:23AM3.410
11/16/2012Fri10:14AM3.39
11/17/2012Sat11:07AM3.28

Click here to take a look at NOAA's tides and currents data.