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Florida Keys prepare for sea level rise

Sea Level Rising
Posted at 6:47 AM, Jul 02, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-02 02:56:09-04

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Hurricane storm surge can inundate the Florida Keys, but that is far from the only water worry for officials.

A tidal gauge operating since before the Civil War has documented a sea level rise of 9 inches in the last century. Officials expect that to double over the next 50 years.

Seasonal tidal flooding that was once a rare inconvenience is now so predictable that some businesses at the end of Key West's famed Duval Street stock sandbags just inside their front doors, ready anytime.

New York City's mayor has announced a plan for flood walls and levees to hold back rising water levels there. Those wouldn't help much in the Keys, though. The islands' base is porous rock and coral, so water just comes up through the ground.