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King Tides, Storm Surge Could Bring Flooding To South Florida

South Florida residents could be facing a potential double whammy this weekend, with an influx of water coming from whatever Hurricane Dorian may bring and water from the king tides

Outside of his doorstep, Corey Barberio watched as rain came down Thursday, a distant reminder of what he’s worried will come this Labor Day weekend.

He’s not alone, as South Florida residents could be facing a potential double whammy this weekend, with an influx of water coming from whatever Hurricane Dorian may bring and water from the king tides.

King Tides happen when there is an alignment of the gravitational pull between the sun and moon in the Northern Hemisphere, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

These tides primarily impact low-lying areas of our community that are prone to flooding and the effects of sea level rise.

The higher tides started Wednesday and will be here till the middle of next week — the same time as Hurricane Dorian is expected to pass through the east coast of Florida.

Barberio still has photos taken during Hurricane Irma in 2017 that show his block flooded. During Irma, water reached up almost half-a-foot to Barberio’s home.

“That’s my concern. We are trying to prepare for a storm in a storm and already have the flooding starting so it’s a double dose,” Barberio said.

Nancy Gassman, water management expert for the Fort Lauderdale Public Works Department, said the city has been preparing for the incoming king tide by working around the clock to make sure drains are clear. The city has also invested money in building 165 new valves that stop water from high tides from coming into neighborhood streets.

“Those 165 new tidal valves are very important to reduce the impacts of tidal flooding as well as a lot of addition work we’ve done,” water management expert Nancy Gassman said.

Even with all the preparation, there’s no way of knowing what Hurricane Dorian will bring.

City officials advise residents who live close to the water or in low-lying areas should take the following precautions:

• Do not drive through flooded areas, turn around and find an alternate safe route to minimize damage to your vehicle and surrounding property;

• If you must drive through flood water, rinse the undercarriage of your vehicle to remove any salt water and minimize corrosive damage;

• Report flooding or clogged storm drains to the City’s 24-Hour Neighbor Service Center at 954-828-8000;

• Review flood safety tips;

• Evaluate your property's readiness and prepare flood protection measures if needed, such as sandbags to use at door thresholds and garage doors;

• Review your flood insurance policy to understand your coverage;

• If you experience flooding on your street, make sure storm drains are not blocked and remove waste collection carts as quickly as possible after they are emptied, or wait until your next scheduled collection day to put them out; and

• If you encounter flood water, rinse off to minimize exposure to pollutants that could have been picked up by the moving water.

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