Editorial: St. Petersburg joins list of cities facing nuisance flooding

Published January 2 2015
Updated January 2 2015

Don't expect to see St. Petersburg brag about its inclusion on this "top list."

The Sunshine City has joined 25 other seaside towns as the most likely places to see at least 30 days of "nuisance flooding" annually before the century ends due to rising sea levels. This isn't storm-related surge but the annoying standing water that can happen at high tide.

Wilmington, N.C.; Annapolis, Md.; and Washington, D.C., already have met the distinction from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and are at the top of the list. St. Petersburg came in last on the list of 26, behind Galveston Bay, Texas, and Seattle. But that is of little consolation when the earliest possible onset is predicted to be 2051. And that's just getting to 30 days of nuisance flooding annually; one would presume the 10-plus days annually will start far sooner. (Missing from the list, notably, is Miami. That's because NOAA tide stations were destroyed in Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and sufficient historical data was not available for the study.)

This is reminder of why all the heated denial about whether humans contribute to climate change is beside the point. The reality is that the change is happening. Ice is melting and sea levels are rising. Florida is surrounded on three sides by water. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has said the city needs to start planning now. So does the rest of the state.