In Florida, it’s not winter that’s coming. It’s the ocean.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is setting aside $3 million for St. Augustine flooding remediation.

St. Augustine flooding
‘The rate of sea-level rise has doubled.’

Florida’s already in deep with catastrophic weather events likely exacerbated by the effects of climate change, and with so much coastline and coastal living, Floridians have a large stake in dealing with sea-level rise.

Case in point, the St. Augustine flooding in September 2020 from a combination of king tides, a nor’easter and 3 inches of rain. When that occurred, Jacksonville firm Taylor Engineering’s clients started sending in photos, including one of a sea wall that the firm designed and did some of the construction administration for in 2014.

“So, I’m very familiar with the site — I know what elevation it’s at — and it’s retaining water (in the photo), which isn’t necessarily what we want to do,” Angela Schedel, Taylor’s Vice President of Community Resilience, said. “All that water is actually backflow, coming up gravity-fed (pipes) — high tide, just up through the drains.”

Schedel made her remarks as part of the Water, Wetlands and Watersheds Webinar Series hosted by the Howard T. Odum Center for Wetlands at the University of Florida.

High tide-related flooding is recurring on a regular and more frequent basis, as well. Part of addressing nuisance flooding from the effects of climate change is knowing where those spots are. St. Augustine has an online city flood tool, and the same day as the nor’easter that flooded the sea wall, there were 42 flooding incidents reported online around the city — a useful tool coming along for an event you’d rather not have.

“It’s a really cool citizen science of a way for Public Works to be able to say, ‘Woah, they had flooding here,’ and a lot more communities are doing this, unfortunately,” Schedel said. “But it is a good way, if you need data, to be able to say, ‘Hey, take a picture of where you are and take your yardstick so we can measure it.’”

While heavy rains and antiquated stormwater systems are one problem, a lot of coastal flooding comes back to gradual and accelerating sea-level rise. Global mean sea level rose an average of 1.5 millimeters a year from 1900 to 2000, but that’s increased to 3.3 millimeters a year from 2000 to 2021. Similarly, while the global mean sea level rose 6 inches in that century, it’s already increased nearly 3 inches in the last 20 years.

“If you take that 3 inches over 25 years, multiply that by four, that’s a foot,” Schedel said. “That’s a foot in the next hundred years. The rate of sea-level rise has doubled.

“There’s a lot of reasons for it, I’m not a climate scientist — this is just the use case for resilience and why we should really care.”

From an engineering perspective, resilience means the ability to bounce back quickly from adversity and recover without changing into something different. The Florida Resilient Coastlines Program, originated in 2018, is a state government grant effort intended to help pay, without the need of matching funds, for local vulnerability assessments and plans for resilience and adaptation.

The state’s trying to catch up in other ways as well, like more than half a billion dollars appropriated for the Resilient Florida grant program. A statewide flood vulnerability assessment and data set is still in the pipeline.

“This is Gov. (Ron) DeSantis and the Legislature, bipartisan, saying we need to do something to make Florida more resilient,” Schedel said. “I think they were motivated when they saw Miami, and that ‘Miami will sink’ on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”

Wes Wolfe

Wes Wolfe is a reporter who's worked for newspapers across the South, winning press association awards for his work in Georgia and the Carolinas. He lives in Jacksonville and previously covered state politics, environmental issues and courts for the News-Leader in Fernandina Beach. You can reach Wes at [email protected] and @WesWolfeFP. Facebook:


  • Ron Ogden

    September 2, 2022 at 7:43 am

    Please remember, there was a time in the fairly recent geological past when sea levels were so LOW that people walked across what is now the English Channel, and the original Americans came here by walking from Asia. The sea has been rising for millennia.

    I live near the beach. I visit the beach frequently. I know people who live on the beach. Nobody has seen any alarming change in sea level in their lifetimes. Is it rising? Maybe. Very slowly. No panic; we’re dealing with it.

    • Chloe

      September 2, 2022 at 9:41 am

      Global mean sea level rose an average of 1.5 millimeters a year from 1900 to 2000, but that’s increased to 3.3 millimeters a year from 2000 to 2021. Similarly, while the global mean sea level rose 6 inches in that century, it’s already increased nearly 3 inches in the last 20 years.

      “If you take that 3 inches over 25 years, multiply that by four, that’s a foot,” duh what it said

      • Garn

        September 2, 2022 at 4:09 pm

        Chloe -> Ron is a denier. He will never believe in his life time until he is personally and undeniably affected.
        And he would vote for trump again if he gets the chance to.

        • Ron Ogden

          September 3, 2022 at 6:41 am

          Gladly. And I will get the chance.

    • Barry

      September 2, 2022 at 11:59 am

      And also the entire Florida Keys is a coral rock which means at one time in history is was completely underwater.

    • Frank Antonucci

      September 2, 2022 at 12:01 pm

      Thank you for a common sense response

    • Dame Mara New

      September 2, 2022 at 3:11 pm

      agree with you,

    • Vivian Caylor

      September 2, 2022 at 4:32 pm

      I’m out on our Intracoastal Waterways all the time. My business is to be out on the water. I have seen a change in the high tides in the last ten years. Even then, you and I are not scientists. I trust scientists, not yours or even my casual observations. I know what I’ve been seeing and it’s scary. You are very wrong and your way of thinking will cause our grandchildren and great grandchildren to suffer immensely if they even survive.

      • Wasitchu

        September 4, 2022 at 8:23 am

        The science is there, Florida will be underwater before they know it, but they continue to deny it, and will continue because the truth does not fit their paradigm.

  • Kf

    September 2, 2022 at 8:17 am

    Are you F’ing kidding me. Go to a Democratic State and wright you Bull crap.

  • bo navajo

    September 2, 2022 at 8:20 am

    Wes Wolfe is a purveyor of false info and his articles s/b labeled as such as he is a political activist with a political agenda. Wake up Wes and smell the coffee. BTW the climate changes daily just watch the local 6pm news to find out how. Why do you not refer to it as global warming anymore??

  • Lisa Wyckoff

    September 2, 2022 at 8:29 am

    It’s really disappointing when I read something written by someone with a college degree that contains misspellings. Makes me wonder what else they got wrong – facts, perhaps? It’s not “WOAH”, it’s “WHOA”. It is such a simple word. Proofread people!

    • Kathryn Gay

      September 2, 2022 at 3:53 pm

      My thoughts exactly..What is sadly amazing that is how often I think it.
      Do they not teach proofreading in school anymore?

  • Peter Chris

    September 2, 2022 at 8:42 am

    Wes, you are full of it, and you know it. Don’t be another “journalist” hack. There are too many of your ilk already. “Rolling Stone” should never be cited as anything other than a one-sided propaganda rag. You are aware of that. But keep on misleading the “useless eaters” to collect that paycheck.

    • Ildo

      September 2, 2022 at 12:17 pm


      • CeAnn Novak

        September 3, 2022 at 10:38 pm

        …and what is a “derp”??

  • Patrick Wells

    September 2, 2022 at 9:33 am

    So, Wes starts off that climate change is causing the sea levels to rise, yet he adds the comment from Schadel where she says there are a lot of factors causing what is happening in St. Augustine and she avoided blaming man made climate change. This is exactly the kind of reporting that is the problem these days. Reporters extrapolate and inject their own conclusions rather than being unbiased and reporting just the facts. The facts here do not support the claim that man made climate change is causing sea levels to rise. Not saying it isn’t a cause, just pointing out that’s a broad reach for what’s being reported here.

  • Gerry James

    September 2, 2022 at 9:41 am

    100% Left-wing propaganda

  • Jeff

    September 2, 2022 at 9:48 am

    I cannot wait for the inevitable sinking of Florida, I am really tired of it being there. It won’t be missed.
    Oh, btw, I studied climate science and all of this is happening, burying your head in the sand will get harder and harder as it floods.

    • Peter Chris

      September 2, 2022 at 10:08 am

      What a pathetic comment, Jeff. Keep waiting.

      • Jeff

        September 2, 2022 at 11:11 am

        During the Miocene, Florida was a coral reef, and the climate was at a temperature that we are working our way towards now. The math is pretty simple, its just that humans are pretty dumb.

        • kiki

          September 2, 2022 at 9:24 pm

          I will bet that you reside in La,la Land!

    • James

      September 2, 2022 at 5:19 pm

      I actually thought the same thing, Jeff. I may live in Illinois, but at least it’s not Florida. We’ll see a lot of people changing their tune once their insurance companies start refusing to provide flood insurance anymore and they can’t sell their house because the have tides in the living room 10 times a year.

  • Tim

    September 2, 2022 at 10:26 am

    Hey Wes… let’s go fishing and I will show you hooks, just inches above the waterline, that I lost 20 years ago. No rising…. this is another media lie!

  • Jeff

    September 2, 2022 at 11:30 am

    If the states that are in trouble due to drought its time to think desalination. You then remedy replenished water and can fill lakes over time . It would also help in lowering sea level as you put it elsewhere. Each helps each other.

  • Roland

    September 2, 2022 at 12:09 pm

    It is amazing the ignorance in this state about in inability of some folks to use science, facts and data to influence their decision making. Opportunity reveals character not develop it…God save us from from these people among us!

  • Galen Thompson

    September 2, 2022 at 12:14 pm

    You don’t have the slightest idea how ignorant you are, do you? Florida is a national punchline because of derp rejects like you. Yeah, I know, you’re upset, so eat another booger.

  • David

    September 2, 2022 at 12:58 pm

    I will have little to no sympathy for all of those who lose their homes,
    They have had a good life with wealth to allow them to live there,
    Some i would love to help because they helped those less fortunate to them selves,
    When you have such great wealth and your going to loose it, and can’t do a thing about it,
    That is unfortunate,
    Just think about the times you lived there and used deception to get what you want,
    And those of you who supported the gay and lesbian communities, have offened the true God of love.
    You all who deceive to acheive, need to find yourselves without, to learn a lesson in humility,

    Live and struggle as I do without and see how the rest of the worl lives

  • Rex Raulerson

    September 2, 2022 at 2:12 pm

    Climate change my butt. What a joke. We were told July was dry because of climate change now August is wet because of it. Laughable!

  • Stan Chrzanowski

    September 2, 2022 at 2:33 pm

    If you think comparing the past to the present is a straight-line relationship you’re fooling yourselves. Feedback loops will make it exponential, and we don’t know how exponential. Thermodynamics (the flow of heat) ia an interesting subject. No one really knows the internal temperature of the Antarctic or Greenland ice packs. We could suddenly be in for a nasty surprise. The weather has really changed within my lifetime. Maybe this planet can’t support 8 billion people who all want the same standard of lioving.

  • CeAnn Novak

    September 3, 2022 at 10:31 pm

    Extreme weather all over the planet and still some refuse to see that global warming is happening now, much faster than predicted by scientists. I especially enjoyed “Bo Navajo”’s comment to watch the weather report on the 6:00 news to see how the climate changes daily…Can someone please explain to him the actual meaning of WEATHER (which changes daily and gets reported on the 6:00 news) and CLIMATE CHANGE aka Global Warming??!! I live in Florida and, it seems to me, several others who comment here about how ignorant we Floridians are, may be even MORE ignorant wherever they live (Rex, Galen, Peter, Chris, Kf, Bo, Gerry, Tim, et al, ad nauseam). Maybe David will pray for your enlightenment. There are places in Florida that already have to put out sandbags for a high tide or a good rain. Sea levels ARE rising, glaciers ARE melting, permafrost IS thawing. Extreme drought and huge wildfires are the new normal. When the “deniers” must finally admit that global warming IS happening they will demand the “government” must answer for not taking action to protect them (from themselves?)! It would be comical if it wasn’t so tragic. Stay tuned…

  • Ron Ogden

    September 4, 2022 at 9:46 am

    ” Sea levels ARE rising, glaciers ARE melting, permafrost IS thawing.”
    For the past 10,000 YEARS!, and at different geological times before that, too. People have been yelling at other people about the environment for a half century. Quit panicking, quit screaming, speak calmly, use free market power to address economic issues, make careful plans. . .just act responsibly and quit HOOTING AND DANCING so that you force people to pay attention to you and things will work out.

  • I am what I am

    September 5, 2022 at 7:46 pm

    You make your bed you lie in it

Comments are closed.


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