Report: Rising seas threaten Charleston, Hatteras

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 20, 2014 at 10:23 am •  Published: May 20, 2014

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Charleston's Historic District and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse are among the national landmarks threatened by rising sea levels, according to a report released Tuesday by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The report cites 30 such sites nationwide scientists say need to be protected from climate changes ranging from sea level rise to floods and frequent wildfires.

The 84-page report, "National Landmarks at Risk" mentions such varied sites as NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Statue of Liberty, the Bandelier National Monument & Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico and the Bering Land Bridge National Monument in Alaska.

The report notes that in Charleston, high tides and summer thunderstorms already routinely flood the popular City Market area. It says nuisance flooding will increase with rising sea levels and if the sea level rises 2 feet homes south of Colonial Lake would inundated.

"Even on sunny days, extreme high tides cause saltwater to back up through storm drains onto the roads, snarling traffic and sometimes forcing businesses to close," the report said.

It noted while the city is building new pump stations and drainage tunnels, water could back up when rainfall exceeds the capacity of the new systems.

The report concluded "Charleston will have to be as aggressive in protecting itself from present and future climate change as it has been in preserving the city's cultural past."