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Rising sea levels increase flood risks in Southwest Florida

Posted: 7:53 PM, Oct 22, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-23 10:53:52-04

Water plays such a big part of our lives here in Southwest Florida, and so many of us want to be on it or near it.

But there are risks. Sea levels are rising, and over the past 100 years, about half of it is due to melting ice on land and expanding ocean water, according to Joanne Muller of the FGCU Water School.

The flood potential is increasing, and the odds are even higher for Florida. Now add a hurricane in the mix and coastal flooding becomes a major issue.

The common denominator is climate change. A warmer planet means warmer oceans, warmer oceans melt ice, and expand the water.

Higher water levels produce more flooding potential, which, in turn, makes hurricanes even more dangerous. Muller says the warmer water acts like high octane fuel.

Hurricanes develop quickly and intensify quickly, just like we've seen in the last four years with five category five hurricanes.

But the risks aren't keeping people from buying valuable waterfront property.

Royal Shell Realtor, Stacey Glenn, says there are people who are scared of the risks and have moved inland, but the most fall somewhere in the middle, they are aware but still enjoy all the Florida has to offer.

The irony here is that the very same thing that draws so many people to live and vacation here in Southwest Florida is also the thing that can be so devastating as sea levels continue to rise.