Saturday, November 12, 2016

"Supermoon" And Possible Storm Create Risk Of New England Coastal Flood

Minor coastal flooding in Gloucester, Mass caused by
a king tide. Photo by Donna Ardizzoni via CBS Boston.  
You've probably heard we're going to get a "supermoon" early next week, in which the full moon will appear in the sky much larger than normal.

The distance between the Earth and the moon varies, and early next week, the moon will be closer to Earth than usual.

 In fact, it will be the closest to us since 1948 and won't come this close again until 2034.

People that have clear skies Tuesday night will have a really, really bright and big moon. It will be quite a show.  The full moon will look 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than usual.

In New England, it looks like clouds, as usual, will interfere with the view. Worse, the supermoon and a run-of-the-mill storm along the coast could cause some coastal flooding.

The moon is the force that exerts its influence on the tides. Since the moon is closer than usual, it can make higher tides. Coastal areas can expect what are known as "King Tides" that are higher than normal, even if there is no storms around to cause any kind of extra high water levels.

Since sea levels have risen, especially along the East Coast, there's a good chance of some coastal flooding even where there's no storm, such as near Miami, Norfolk and other low lying areas in the Southeast.

The Miami Herald says the expected high tides come just a month after a similar flooding episodes, and flooding from tides has increased markedly in recent years. This will be just another bad example of rising sea levels there.

Up in New England, we're expecting a nor'easter. By the standards of the region, this one will be lame. Just a slug of rain and some fairly gusty coastal winds. Definitely not a big deal.

At least not normally. But as meteorologist Eric Fisher at CBS Boston notes, nor'easters do cause an east wind in New England as they approach. The King Tides  combined with the east winds pushing water onshore could easily cause some pretty good flooding along the coast.

This definitely WON'T  be a mega disaster like Superstorm Sandy or the Perfect Storm by any means.   But if you have oceanfront property in New England, be prepared for flooded roads, beach erosion and maybe some property damage.

The Supermoon strikes again!

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