Is Pensacola Vulnerable to Storm Surges?
Many people enjoy living on or near the water, which includes those living in Pensacola, Florida. Pensacola is a popular city due to its beautiful beaches and waterfront properties; however, rising sea levels and frequent storm surges raise concerns for both residents and potential homeowners. Understanding Pensacola’s vulnerability to these issues is essential prior to purchasing waterfront property or even when having a private boat dock or seawall built.
If Sea Levels Rise, Could Storm Surges Be Problematic?
The link between ever-rising sea levels and the heightened risk of storm surges is relatively easy to establish. Storm surges are a temporary rise in water levels caused by severe storms. If sea levels are already high, due to natural factors such as high tide, the addition of a storm surge can possibly cause significant flooding.
Areas that are vulnerable to sea level rise are also likely to experience a more severe impact from storm surges. Average sea level rise can bring about more immediate challenges, such as coastal flooding in Pensacola, as well as exacerbate soil erosion and lead to habitat loss for plants and animals.
The Science of High Tide and Storm Surges
Understanding the science behind high tides and storm surges can give property owners a better grasp of what they’re up against. For example, high tide is a recurring natural phenomenon that raises water levels. Being aware of the timing and extent of these daily high tides can help property owners take preventative measures, such as reinforcing shorefront barriers.
Combine high tide with a storm surge, and you have a recipe for possible coastal flood issues, since these overlapping events can produce dramatically higher water levels. This combination of high tides plus a storm surge could have a devastating impact on homes and infrastructure located on/near waterfront property. Studying historical flood data and storm patterns for your area can provide valuable insights into the level of risk that your property faces.
Should Rising Sea Levels and Storm Surges Prevent Me from Having a Private Boat Dock or Seawall Built?
Private boat docks and seawall construction have been popular ways to protect and improve waterfront property. While these structures have typically been permissible, it’s crucial to consider that escalating sea levels and frequent storm surges may influence future area policies.
Local authorities may revise regulations around seawall and residential boat dock construction in order to strengthen these builds against rising sea levels and increasing storm surges. Working with an experienced contractor who understands these challenges is critical to staying proactive against the possibility of flooding.
Why Location Matters
The location of the property can also play a significant role in its susceptibility to storm surges and rising sea levels. Some areas may be more prone to coastal flooding, while others may be somewhat insulated due to natural barriers or elevation. Land features such as dunes, wetlands, or even previously built infrastructure can offer some protection, but it’s certainly preferable for there to be foolproof defenses in place.
Property owners should consult with experts, then assess risk factors specific to their location for a better understanding of their flood vulnerability. Implementing recommendations from experts, such as installing a silt fence or having a seawall constructed, can add an extra layer of defense against the unpredictable forces of nature.
Preparing for the Future
Homeowners are surely not without options. There are quite a few strategies for adapting to these environmental challenges. For example, advanced engineering techniques can make residential boat docks more resilient to storm surges and high tides. Similarly, new types of seawalls can be built to absorb the impact of rising waters better than before, although they may come with a higher price tag.
Living in Pensacola is a popular choice due to its location and its natural beauty. However, knowing your flood risk is critical, especially if you are considering investing in real property. Possible storm surges make it more important to consider the long-term feasibility of features such as private boat docks and seawalls. Discussing your options with a contractor who specializes in residential boat dock and seawall construction is always recommended to help you make the best decision.