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The impact of sea level rise in North and South Carolina

Dare County Government Channel

We are having a conversation about what preparations are being made for sea level rise along the Carolina coast in the face of what scientists are predicting will be dire consequences.

Sea level rise is a real threat to the Carolinas and the rest of the U.S. coast in coming decades. A recent report by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration said the U.S. coastline will rise as much by 2050 as it ha s in the previous century. That amounts to around a foot by mid-century.

In North Carolina, the matter is made worse by a low-lying coastal plain behind the Outer Banks. That means the flood damage could extend past coastal properties. Farms could be damaged and septic systems could fail. NOAA is recommending communities begin to prepare for this now or face dire consequences.

There are also economic concerns. Beyond tourism, the Carolina coastline includes port cities like Wilmington and Charleston , S outh Carolin a .

On the next Charlotte Talks, Mike Collins and our panel of guests take a look at what that preparation looks like, the economic impact of increased flooding and what, if anything, the average person can do.


David Boraks, WFAE c limate r eporter

Rob Young, d irector of the p rogram for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University
Copyright 2022 WFAE. To see more, visit WFAE.

Gabe Altieri