Officials say a strong storm off the Southeast coast combined with periodic higher tides caused coastal flooding that approached levels rarely seen outside of hurricanes along the South Carolina and Georgia coasts.
Sunday morning’s high tide reached 10.45 feet (3.19 meters) at Fort Pulaski, just east of Savannah, Georgia.
4TH HIGHEST ON RECORD— Alysa Carsley (@WSAVAlysaC) November 7, 2021
Preliminary reports of the peak high tide of 10.45' ranks this as the 4th highest tide and highest NON-TROPICAL tide on record at Fort Pulaski, just below record flooding set by Matthew & Irma and Hurricane Nine in 1947. Tide levels are finally receding! pic.twitter.com/07jzjHa8ko
It was the fourth-highest tide in the 85 years the gauge has been in place. The other three higher levels happened in tropical storms or hurricanes including the record of 12.56 feet (3.83 meters) in Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.
This morning's high tide at Fort Pulaski was the 4th highest on record! pic.twitter.com/Tx5JRibkTf— Andrew Gorton WTOC (@AndrewGortonWx) November 7, 2021
The water shut down several roads, including U.S. Highway 80 from Savannah to Tybee Island, officials said.
The Sunday high tide in Charleston Harbor reached 8.51 feet (2.59 meters), which is the 10th highest level in the century of recording at that site, the weather service said.
The high water closed dozens of roads in downtown and caused the city to cancel its Veterans Day parade scheduled for Saturday.
The combination of high astronomical tides and the passage of a deep coastal low resulted major coastal flooding during the mornings of November 5th, 6th, and 7th. Check out our Twitter Moment: #chswx #scwx #savwx #gawxhttps://t.co/1uHTx8A4Yo— NWS Charleston, SC (@NWSCharlestonSC) November 8, 2021
Sunday’s high tides were the culmination of four days of rising ocean water pushed ashore by both winds from a strong autumn storm offshore and periodic King Tides when the moon’s location causes the water level to increase.
Tides at CHS Harbor/Ft Pulaski peaked ~3 ft above mean higher high water (MHHW) this AM, which is a proxy for the depth of inundation. Reminder you can use the @NOAA Sea Level Rise Viewer tool to estimate inundation extent/depth. https://t.co/n9HPBns2Vw #scwx #gawx #chswx #savwx pic.twitter.com/wD1Y2tmXQf— NWS Charleston, SC (@NWSCharlestonSC) November 7, 2021
Rising sea levels is leading to more frequent flooding, meteorologists said.
Thirteen of the 20 times Fort Pulaski has recorded a tide of 10 feet (3.05 meters) have happened since 2015, including twice during this month’s event, the weather service said.
Charleston Harbor has recorded 25 of the 39 tides of 8 feet (2.44 meters) or greater since 2015. The tide reached that level for major flooding three times already this month, meteorologists said.