With seven miles of shoreline, 300 miles of canal coastline, a flat topography, and shallow, porous aquifer, Fort Lauderdale is vulnerable to the effects of climate change and sea level rise. As a result of Fort Lauderdale’s geographic location, the City being a coastal community is vulnerable to the effects of climate change and sea level rise. King Tides occur when the orbits and alignment of the Earth, moon, and sun combine to produce the greatest tidal effects of the year. King Tides bring unusually high water levels, which can cause local tidal flooding. Over time, sea level rise is raising the height of tidal systems. Average daily water levels are rising along with the oceans. As a result, high tides are reaching higher and extending further inland than historically. King Tides are a normal occurrence once or twice every year in coastal areas such as South Florida. In the United States, they are predicted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
2019 King Tide Dates
The table below summarizes the predicted peak dates and heights for 2019, in feet above North American Vertical Datum (NAVD). Average high tide for this location in 2019 is 0.40 feet NAVD.
What the City is Doing to Prepare
The City is actively planning for King Tides in the short term and sea level rise in the long term. The following lists provide an overview of steps the City will take, depending on existing conditions, to mitigate localized flooding.
City Steps to Address King Tides
- Conduct inspections and cleaning of tidal valves already installed throughout the City to confirm they are operating properly and mitigating tidal flooding as expected
- Check and clean stormdrains and catch basins to remove any blockages to facilitate drainage and minimize water accumulation
- Monitor pump stations to ensure the stormwater system is operating efficiently
- Coordinate investigations into reported flooding through the 24-Hour Customer Service Center
- Expedite tidal valve installation, when possible, to prevent tidal water from backing up in the stormdrain system and flooding City streets
- Bury seaweed in the sand to stabilize the beach up to a certain threshold of wave impact
- Place “No Wake” signs on roadways to encourage drivers to proceed slowly through neighborhoods to prevent additional damage
- Place barricades and lane delineators near waterways to protect swales and prevent vehicles from driving off the road into the adjacent waterway
- Disseminate external information to advise neighbors of high tides and advise of appropriate safety precautions to protect life and property
- In the event of significant flooding, the City may use vacuum trucks to remove ponding water remaining at low tide from streets to keep them safe and drivable
- Deploy equipment or create temporary berms, depending on field conditions, that act as barriers to protect low or non-existent seawalls from encroaching waterways
- Reach out to local government agencies to raise awareness of flooding on State and County roads that are located in Fort Lauderdale, but out of the City's jurisdiction
- Implement temporary road closures on flooded streets as a precautionary safety measure
City Steps to Address Sea-Level Rise
- Included measures to address sea-level rise in the citywide Vision Plan, Sustainability Action Plan, Five-year Strategic Plan, Commission Annual Action Plan, and Community Investment Plan
- Established a Sustainability Division to identify key issues and implement citywide strategies to build community resilience
- Developed a robust stormwater master plan with aggressive maintenance targets to maximize our infrastructure and reduce the threat of flooding
- Drafting a Seawall Master Plan and identifying priority recommendations for seawall repair and replacement
- Installed 152 tidal valves
- Installed a tide gauge on the New River to get accurate local tide measurement to make more informed decisions
- Constructed a berm on the south side of Las Olas between Lido and San Marco Drive to reduce flooding
- Created a Floodplain Manager and a Stormwater Manager position to coordinate resources and implement long-term initiatives to minimize our vulnerabilities and strengthen our community
- Adopted new Flood Insurance Rate Maps and updated the floodplain ordinance to establish higher regulatory standards for future development to minimize vulnerability to flooding
- Adopted an Adaptation Action Area (AAA) policy to help prioritize funding for adaptation measures and infrastructure improvements in an effort to reduce vulnerabilities in areas that are threatened by sea-level rise and coastal flooding
- Identified 17 AAAs and funding for 42 projects to date, as stated in the 2018 Community Investment Plan
- Amended the seawall ordinance in an effort to protect properties and minimize flooding caused by breached seawalls
- Installing a blend of permeable pavers, bioswales, and exfiltration trenches to maximize water retention and the capacity of the storm drain system to minimize localized flooding
- Created an Infrastructure Task Force to help prioritize City infrastructure needs and recommend funding methods
- Raising electrical panel boxes for sanitary sewer pump stations to prevent power outages
- Incorporating sea level rise as planning criteria for infrastructure improvements
- Working with Broward County to renourish the beach to mitigate wave impacts
- Participating in the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact to engage in a regional approach to foster sustainability and climate resilience by implementing mitigation and adaptation initiatives
- Seeking and maintaining global partnerships and innovative solutions. The rebuilding of A1A is a great example of how the City worked with residents, the Florida Department of Transportation, Broward County, and the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), to rebuild A1A with greater protection and at a higher elevation to be more resilient in the event of a future storm, high tide, and rising sea-levels.
How Neighbors Can Prepare
During King Tides, residents and visitors are encouraged to stay safe and exercise precaution.
- Avoid contact with flood water
- Avoid driving through the flooded areas
- Avoid parking in low lying areas
- Be aware of road closures and evacuation routes
- Use flood panels or sand bags to protect your building
- Check tide levels if you own a boat
- Rinse off landscaping if it comes in contact with flood water
During high tides, neighbors are reminded to closely monitor their waste carts, and to remove them from the street as quickly as possible after they are emptied. If your street floods, you may want to store your sanitation carts in a safe and secure location until your next regularly scheduled collection day. View the sanitation service tips page for more information.