A record number of coastal flood events — 89, on at least 76 individual days — occurred along the Southeast and South Carolina coast last year, according to the National Weather Service.

SC - Clemson scientists seek solutions to state’s mounting nuisance floods

While a rising tide may lift all boats, it spells trouble for South Carolina coastal communities where flooding has already long been a fact of life.

Low-lying areas such as the state’s more than 2,000 miles of coastline are increasingly prone to floods and storm surge as sea levels rise — driven by a more variable global climate system — but a team from Clemson University is leading research in the state to uncover green solutions to help those communities fight back.

“In coastal South Carolina and beyond, nuisance flooding from extremely high spring or ‘king’ tides can disrupt life for residents and visitors in our communities,” said Daniel Hitchcock, an associate professor at Clemson’s Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science. “These flood events are more routine than our unprecedented tropical events over the past few years. Recent large tropical events have certainly opened our eyes to potential adverse impacts and demonstrate the need for better data and predictive tools, as well as socioeconomic assessment.”

But a new grant gives researchers throughout the Southeast, including the team from Clemson led by Hitchcock, the opportunity to evaluate cost-effective infrastructure interventions for mitigating flood risks in coastal locales.

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