By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A graphic warning for a vulnerable Maryland: the danger is sea level rise coupled with storm surges.

Alex DeMetrick reports a new tool gives homeowners an idea of their risk.

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It used to be only so many low points flooded during big storms, but Hurricane Sandy found water pushing further into those places.

“Clearly, Crisfield took it the hardest in terms of the sea level rise and the tidal surge,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Sandy prompted Maryland to conduct a study of rising sea level. When the results were added up, Maryland’s vulnerability came into focus.

“We expect by 2150 there to be as much as a foot and a half or two feet, during just the first half of this century,” said Dr. Donald Boesch, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

Now maps compiled by Climate Central show the risk. Like Baltimore, where areas in red have the most to lose, up to $100 million in damage. In Ocean City, the red zone stretches north to Delaware. Yellow zones represent $100,000 in property damage. In Dorchester County, that could add up.

The warnings that came during Sandy could become more common.

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“We are ordering and urging all Marylanders to stay off the roads for the next 36 hours,” O’Malley said during the storm.

Climate Central calculates a storm surge above five feet could damage 41,000 homes and impact 55,000 people in Maryland.

But with sea levels rising, surges climbing above nine feet will put 94,000 homes and 132,000 people in danger.

And as oceans continue to warm and rise, the estimates for sea level rise in Maryland by the end of the century continue upward.

“Our best guess estimate is about 3.7 feet,” Boesch said.

Turning more of Maryland into low spots.

Climate Central estimates rising sea levels pushing storm surges further inland, could eventually cost Maryland up to $42 billion in property damage.

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