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Update from Mayor John P. "Jack" Seiler on King Tides

Post Date:October 24, 2015 9:00 AM

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Seasonal King Tides have impacted our community in recent months, with above-average tides causing flooding in low-lying areas. Recorded tides at the Virginia Key Tide Station have been as high as 18 inches above the average high tides for the year. The observed tides have substantially exceeded predicted heights resulting in greater than expected street flooding. It is likely that we will experience the impacts of the King Tides again, from October 24 through October 31, 2015.

SAFETY TIPS

I encourage neighbors to prepare for high tides and to be sensible if you encounter flood waters.

• Do not walk through flood waters. It is dangerous and can be a health hazard.

• Do not drive through flooded areas, turn around and find another way. In addition to being a threat to life safety, it can lead to both short and long term damage to your vehicle.

• If you drive through flooded areas, please note that creating waves can cause additional damage to surrounding landscaping and property.

• Be careful around manhole covers, as they can become dislodged by the high tides.

• Boaters are advised that high tides cause lower clearance under fixed bridges. Check the tides before leaving the dock.

The location and natural topography of our City make certain neighborhoods more susceptible to flooding from high tides and extreme rainfall. Fortunately, we are taking proactive measures to lessen the impact to our neighbors and utilize adaptation solutions to build a more resilient coastal community.

PROACTIVE MEASURES DURING KING TIDES

• One-way valves called tidal valves installed in many coastal neighborhoods are checked to confirm they are operating properly and mitigating tidal flooding as expected.

• Stormdrains and catch basins are checked and cleaned to remove any blockages to facilitate drainage and minimize water accumulation.

• Pump stations are closely monitored to ensure the stormwater system is operating efficiently.

• The 24-Hour Customer Service Center coordinates investigations into reports of flooding.

• Vacuum (vac) trucks are used to remove ponding water keep roads safe and drivable.

• Other measures taken during the September King Tides that could be used again include: deploying barricades, building a temporary berm, and expediting tidal valve installation.

PROACTIVE MEASURES TO ADDRESS SEA LEVEL RISE

• The Citywide Vision Plan, Sustainability Action Plan, Five-year Strategic Plan, Commission Annual Action Plan, and Community Investment Plan all include measures to address sea level rise.

• The Public Works Sustainability Division coordinates across City departments to identify key issues and implement strategies to build community resilience.

• A robust stormwater master plan includes aggressive maintenance to maximize our infrastructure and reduce the threat of flooding.

• Since 2011, we have installed 59 tidal valves and this fiscal year we plan to install approximately 45 more.

• A Floodplain Manager and a Stormwater Manager coordinate resources and implement long-term initiatives to minimize our vulnerabilities and strengthen our community.

• New flood insurance rate maps and updates to our floodplain ordinance established higher regulatory standards for future development to minimize vulnerability to flooding.

• Newly designated Adaptation Action Areas are helping prioritize funding for adaptation measures and infrastructure improvements to reduce vulnerabilities in areas that are threatened by sea level rise and coastal flooding.

• Through the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact we are actively engaged in a regional approach to foster sustainability and climate resilience by implementing mitigation and adaptation initiatives.

• Partnerships and innovative solutions are being explored to help address this serious threat. The rebuilding of A1A is a great example of how we worked with residents and the Florida Department of Transportation 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.

I encourage our neighbors to take a few minutes to evaluate your property’s readiness, review your insurance policy, create an emergency plan and review the safety tips above. Please report flooding and clogged storm drains by calling the City of Fort Lauderdale 24-Hour Customer Service Center at 954-828-8000. Visit the City website at www.fortlauderdale.gov for more information on tides, flood prevention activities and additional measures underway to increase Fort Lauderdale’s climate resiliency.

Thank you,

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Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler

 

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