NOAA projects Boston could see up to 18 days flooding in 2022

“High tide flooding is becoming more common and damaging in many parts of the U.S.”

Boston Weather
Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe, File

The northeast is one of the areas of the United States most impacted by high-tide flooding, and scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are predicting the flooding conditions will only continue to accelerate as sea levels rise. 

Boston could see between 11 and 18 days of flooding by the end of the meteorological year, according to a new report released on Tuesday by the agency.

NOAA said that comparing 2022 projections to the average number of high-tide flooding days seen in the northeast in 2000 revealed the region has seen an almost 200 percent increase in the number of high-tide flood days. 


In 2000, Boston only saw six days of flooding. 

High-tide flooding, also known as “sunny day” or “nuisance” flooding, is becoming increasingly common due to decades of rising sea levels, according to NOAA. It occurs when tides reach between 1.75 to 2 feet above the daily average high-tide, spilling onto streets or coming up from storm drains. 

The change is driven, in part, by the ongoing climate crisis, according to NOAA. 

“High tide flooding is becoming more common and damaging in many parts of the U.S.,” Rick Spinrad, a NOAA Administrator, said in a statement. 

Three coastal communities in the United States have already seen a record-high number of high-tide flood days in 2022. Reedy Point, Delaware, saw six high-tide flooding days, compared to the five seen in 2021. Meanwhile, Kwajalein Island in the Marshall Islands witnessed four high-tide flooding days, compared with the three seen in 2021. Springmaid Pier, South Carolina, near Myrtle Beach, has so far tied its 2021 record with 11 high-tide flood days. 

Over the next year (May 2022 to April 2023) the high-tide flooding is expected to occur on average between three and seven days nationally, an increase from the two to six days seen between 2019 and 2020, according to NOAA. 


“Coastal flood warnings for significant risks to life and property will become much more commonplace as we approach mid-century,” the agency said in a statement.

By 2051, NOAA is predicting nationally that high-tide flooding will occur an average of 45 to 70 days per year. In 2050, Boston is predicted to see between 50 and 70 high-tide flood days.

Boston has registered more high-tide flooding than any other city in the nation, with a total of 371 days since 1920, which is when NOAA began keeping records, the Boston Globe reports

With increased flooding in Boston’s future threatening the city’s infrastructure — from stormwater systems to public transit — researchers and officials alike are brainstorming ways to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis.


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