Our warming planet is causing sea levels to rise. The sea is rising faster in Georgia than along other coastlines because the entire U.S. eastern seaboard is sinking. Experts say to expect at least six inches of sea level rise within the next 50 years along Georgia’s 100-mile coastline.
In April 2016, Tybee Island became the first Georgia community to officially acknowledge climate change. Like other coastal communities, it struggles with flooding caused by the rising sea. Route 80 (shown above) is the only road on and off the popular island. The road is now under water, in spots, about six times a year—even on sunny days
On Little Cumberland Island, an historic lighthouse that has stood for nearly 200 years may topple into the sea in the next five to 10 years. The sand dunes and beach surrounding it are washing away with increasing speed.
And near Savannah, the sea level at Fort Pulaski National Monument has risen over nine inches since 1935.
Climate change also means more extreme weather events like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, and stronger storm surges. Because much of our coastline is just a few feet above sea level, Georgia’s barrier islands and coastal communities can expect more frequent inland flooding, salt water intrusion and shoreline erosion.
In September 2017, Tropical Storm Irma brought a record-breaking tidal surge of almost 14 feet to Georgia’s coast. The Savannah River overflowed up to the doors of businesses in popular downtown Savannah. On Tybee Island, homes flooded, with some streets in knee- to waist-deep water. And of course, Route 80 was under water, cutting off residents from the mainland.
Our leaders in Congress are in the best position to slow climate change. Know where your candidate stands on climate change—and vote climate!