It doesn't rain, but it floods

A street on Monday flooded with sea water caused by an annual so-called king tide in Fort Lauderdale, a city on Florida's south-eastern coast. King tides, which happen frequently, are the most blatant example of the interplay between rising seas and
PHOTO: NYTIMES

A street on Monday flooded with sea water caused by an annual so-called king tide in Fort Lauderdale, a city on Florida's south-eastern coast.

King tides, which happen frequently, are the most blatant example of the interplay between rising seas and the alignment of the moon, sun and earth.

Even without a drop of rain, some places flood routinely. Monday's flooding happened during the supermoon phenomenon, when the moon was full and at its closest distance to the earth since 1948.

The closer the moon, the stronger the gravitational tug on the oceans, hence the higher the tide. In South Florida, climate change is not an abstract issue. By 2100, sea levels could swell high enough to submerge 12.5 per cent of homes in the American state.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 19, 2016, with the headline 'It doesn't rain, but it floods'. Print Edition | Subscribe