Annapolis, Baltimore Have Most Nuisance Flooding In The Nation

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Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)— Nuisance flooding is the high water that swamps streets and sidewalks during storms. It’s a growing problem for coastal cities.

Alex DeMetick reports nuisance flooding is breaking national records here in Maryland.

Sometimes it covers part of a street. When it’s really bad, nuisance flooding submerges all of it.

A study conducted by NOAA researchers found it’s happening in Maryland more than any other state.

“These type of events happen maybe a few times a decade. Now they’re occurring multiple times a year,” said William Sweet, NOAA researcher.

According to NOAA, nuisance flooding since 1960 increased 925 percent in Annapolis and 922 percent in Baltimore. For comparison, the next highest city ion the U.S. is Norfolk, Va. with a 350 percent increase.

It’s happening here because sea level is rising faster in the Chesapeake Bay, possibly up to two feet higher in 50-75 years.

And in a state with a lot of low ground, “this area is going to erode substantially and this park we’re sitting in is going to be underwater,” said Dr. Donald Boesch, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

In Baltimore, trash is also a cause.

“That will then block the drains and the water can’t escape as it’s supposed to,” said Jeffery Raymond, Baltimore DPW.

And then you get flooding.

So the city will start installing screens to keep trash out.

But as the sea level continues to rise, “the time between these floods is going to be much more frequent and the severity of them is going to grow in time,” Sweet said.

According to NOAA’s study, as sea levels rise, it will take less rain to trigger nuisance flooding in the future.

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