High tidal waves are bringing flooding to the Mid-Atlantic region

Coastal communities in the mid-Atlantic countries remained under warnings or flood warnings on Saturday as they investigated damage caused by a large, slow-moving storm that flooded areas of the region and brought some of the highest tidal waves in two decades, meteorologists say.

The storm and flooding affected cities along northern coastal Virginia through the Chesapeake and Delaware Bay areas to coastal New Jersey. Waters rose to the cities of Annapolis, Md., And Alexandria, Va., The waterways surrounding the cities of Washington, DC, and Philadelphia swelled.

Up and down the west coast of Chesapeake Bay, homes and businesses are flooded and coastal roads are submerged, and turn some coastal areas into islands. But the encounters were not as damaging as some forecasters feared. In Baltimore, Inner Harbor was underwater on Friday night, but on Saturday, people in the area were walking their dogs again and sitting on benches.

“We’ve come very close to having some major problems,” said James Wallace, director of the Baltimore City Emergency Management Office, adding that the effects of the floods were less serious than we feared, thanks to the wind speed subsiding. around the tide.

Extended rainfall brought between one and two centimeters of rainfall over much of the mid-Atlantic, and as much as four centimeters in isolated areas along Corridor I-95.

Flooding in some areas could continue through Sunday through Monday morning, said Kevin Witt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. There were no reports of storm deaths on Saturday afternoon.

In downtown Annapolis, residents splashed through a few feet of water on Saturday morning. The water receded from the summit just under five feet overnight, said David Mandell, deputy director of the Office of Emergency Management.

The capital of Maryland, located in Chesapeake Bay, is facing regular tidal floods, which has led the city to develop a pumping system to prevent high-tide floods. But it was no match for Friday night.

“We’re used to flooding, and that’s flooding that goes beyond that,” Mr Mandell said.

On Friday around midnight, Mayor Gavin Buckley of Annapolis kayaked down Dock Street in downtown and inspected the damage to restaurants and shops. Floodwaters flooded sandbags on the doors of many businesses, causing “extensive” damage that Mr. Buckley worried would have an economic tax.

“We’re just recovering from Covid, so a lot of these companies are just getting back on their feet,” Mr. Buckley said.

The rise fell far below the record Hurricane Isabel in 2003, which flooded a city with more than seven feet of storm. However, this is the highest rate of flooding the city has experienced that was not caused by the hurricane, Mr Mandell said.

A severe storm caused the confluence of tides, wind and rain. “The sheer size of all of these factors has made this kind of unusual,” Mr. Witt said. Coastal flood records were broken along the banks of the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay on Solomons Island and Straits Point in Maryland and Dahlgren, Va.

High tides also caused water levels along the Delaware River and upper Delaware Bay to approach some of the highest points on record. According to Alex Staarmann, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, strong winds along parts of the Atlantic coast reached a top speed of about 60 miles per hour, knocking down several trees and power lines. In New Jersey, about 4,000 households were left without electricity on Saturday.

The storm came just days after Northeast Night shaken coastal New England with a hurricane-force wind that cut off electricity to hundreds of thousands of households. In Massachusetts, thousands were left without electricity on Saturday.

Mr Witt said the storm was part of a pattern of stronger storms affecting wider areas driven by climate change.

From 2000 to 2015, the incidence of high tide floods in the mid-Atlantic doubled to an average of six days a year from three days, according to the 2018 report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“We are at the forefront of climate change,” Mr. Mandell said of Annapolis. “We see that routinely.”

JoAnna Daemmrich contributed reporting from Annapolis and Maria Morales from Baltimore.

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