Monday's "King Tide" brought a preview to Portsmouth of what everyday high tides could look like by the middle of the century, and local officials and reporters gathered at the sea wall in Island Park to get a preview and discuss the risk. Both the Newport Daily News and the Portsmouth Times had coverage this week, and local Democratic candidates, myself included, were unanimous in their respect for the science.
The Newport Daily News quoted me:
At the sea wall Monday morning, McDaid, whose family has lived in the Island Park neighborhood for decades, said: “Look at this as the new normal in 20 years. This is a real threat to hundreds of houses.”
The Portsmouth Times ran an even longer quote:
Mr. McDaid’s family has lived on Gormley Avenue since the 1920s. His mother escaped safely from the home during the 1938 Hurricane, he said, but many others were not so fortunate.
“What we’re looking at here is the future,” said Mr. McDaid. “When we’re looking at a King Tide right now, we’re looking at now what NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) says is going to be your sea level — mean high water — in 2035. That means in 2035, you’re going have this water at the top of the storm drain, which is going to prevent drainage on Park Avenue. So that is going to be a situation that is dangerous, that presents issues with the residents, for school buses, for everyone who lives here in Island Park.”
He added that what onlookers were seeing is just “a taste of what’s to come.” By 2050, he said, NOAA is projecting sea level rises of up to two feet. By 2065? Three feet.
“That’s going to put water over the road and into our neighborhoods. This is a real issue we need to get in front of now,” said Mr. McDaid, adding that the town needs to plan “on what we can do with Park Avenue and these drainage systems to keep this neighborhood livable for folks.”
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