New report says Tampa Bay area at high risk for chronic flooding

Some communities may not be livable in the future

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — You may not have waterfront property now, but in 30 years some scientists predict a rise in sea level may bring chronic flooding to a huge portion of the bay area. 

"It was not flooding nearly to the extent and with the frequency that it does now,” said Kim Caswell, who has lived in her St. Pete Beach home for nearly 3 decades.

The McPherson Bayou has been spilling over and creeping closer to her front door every year. Last October a king tide turned Casablanca Avenue near Gulf Boulevard into a shallow creek.

"The flooding particularly at the end of the street that used to happen once every month or two, and now down there it’s flooded almost every day,” she said.

A new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists says over the next 30 years 64,000 homes in Florida will be at risk for chronic flooding — worse than any other state. They say the Tampa Bay area stands out as one of the most highly exposed cities.

Caswell doesn’t doubt it — she and other neighbors have already started taking precautionary measures.

"We will look at the tides in the afternoon, in the evening, and make sure the cars are out of the driveways at that time,” she said.

In 2016, she couldn’t get her daughters car out in time and was forced to place it on cinder blocks.

By the end of the century, the report predicts homes in nearly 100 zip codes in the state could be chronically flooded. The report says those homes make up 40% of their property tax base right now.

They say if things don’t change, those neighborhoods and communities may not be livable and that could have a huge impact on the economy. 

To read the full report, click here.

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