One of the issues I focus on every day or two is sea level rise. I suppose that's natural given that the sea is about a block down the road from where I'm typing this. Fortunately I'm also living atop a granite escarpment that gives me about 40-feet of breathing space, enough for my lifetime and at least another one after that.
Many other places aren't so lucky. One of them is Hollywood, Florida, a small coastal resort city lying between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Hollywood is featured in the latest Broward-Palm Beach New Times for its ongoing flooding during King Tides.
Every October on the full moon, the water levels are the highest of the year — during the king tide. This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated an added three feet of water on Sunday and Monday in Hollywood. It was too much for the already low-lying neighborhood that regularly floods. Without a seawall protecting residents, water from Hollywood's South Lake gushed into the streets, inundating roads and driveways in two feet of water. At the peak level, it was lapping up at residents' doorsteps.
One newcomer to town is none too happy:
"We get trapped in our homes twice a day for two hours," says homeowner Peter Scher as he stands on his driveway's peak and the only sliver of dry land in his front yard. "It's getting worse... It's funny how the seller didn't mention [the flooding] when we bought the home in June."
Oddly enough, climate change is not a major issue in the Florida congressional campaigns. Young Floridians aren't reluctant to speak out:
Older residents are learning to cope:
"Our next car is going to be a lease," one woman told her husband as they stood cross-armed in their inundated yard. "The salt water ruins the vehicle."
It's true. Saltwater baths are not kind to cars. They're also not kind to streets or the infrastructure that runs beneath them. Every time there's an inundation, salt is left behind as the seawater eventually retreats and it accumulates, sometimes even contaminating the fresh groundwater.
Hollywood, Florida is a community of palm trees, expansive green lawns and elegant, upscale houses. I wonder how long it can remain that way.