Seasonal high tide brings flooding to Miami Beach

Expanding ocean, rising sea levels causing more, higher seasonal tidal flooding

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Floods of traffic treaded through the rising water once again during Friday evening's seasonal high tide that began around 8:15 p.m. in Miami Beach.

In some places as people and pets puddled pass, while others tried to peddle through, the salty sea water kept seeping up through the ground, rapidly rising more than a foot.

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"I blame the city," said Sergio Trejos.

Don't blame all of this on the moon's gravitational pull on the ocean waters, which is no stranger this time of year in some South Florida coastal cities during the astronomical high-tide season from September to November.

"We live on lime stone. It's like a porous sponge," said James Murley, Executive Director of South Florida Regional Planning Council. "We really can't use levees to hold back the water."

An expanding ocean and rising sea levels, resulting from global warming some scientists say, have been causing more and higher seasonal tidal flooding in the last several years.

Despite cities building taller sand dunes and working to improve sea walls and drainage systems, some dire prognosticators even predict places like porous man-made Miami Beach.

The lowest lying and typically worst flooded areas on the west side of the island, around Alton Road and 10th Street, could one day remain under water.

"By the mid-part of the century, 2050, 2060, most of the barrier islands in the world are going to have to be evacuated," said Harold R. Wanless of the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Miami.