Increased Flooding: Coming to a City Near You

Earlier this month in Redwood City the high water levels during the King Tides event caused major flooding in several parts of town – soaking cars parked at a marina with several feet of water and restricting access and cancelling programs at the nearby San Mateo County Women’s Correctional Facility. CBS 5’s news team captured the story in their news segment above.

Increased flooding is not just something that will happen in the future as Bay water levels continue to rise. It is already happening now – with or without the King Tides. Just over a week after the extreme high tides left the Bay Area, headlines in the San Mateo County community of East Palo Alto announced that heavy rain mixed with the usual high tides caused flood water in San Francisquito Creek to overtop the levee in two places, forcing the evacuation of seven homes, and damaging one to the point of being uninhabitable.

Thankfully, workers from several agencies were able to get to the area quickly and perform emergency repairs, but city officials and residents know this is not the last they have heard from this tidal creek, which is notorious for flooding thousands of properties over the years. East Palo Alto is now checking with county and state officials to find funding for the repairs. Meanwhile, a multi-city, $17 million effort is underway for a more long-term fix.

This is just a snapshot of two of the over 100 cities that make up the Bay Area. As the CBS 5 story notes, San Mateo County has more property at risk from sea level rise than any other county in California, but that does not mean that the costs to other Bay Area counties will not also be enormous. The costs and impacts are widespread and quickly adding up.