(NEXSTAR) – Residents of the northeastern U.S. saw firsthand this summer the devastation flooding can cause in a community. Unfortunately, scientists predict widespread flooding will only become more common as the years go on.
A map created by Climate Central, an organization of scientists and journalists focused on studying the impacts of climate change, shows what the future may hold for coastal communities as sea level rises. For this story, we zeroed in on coastal Texas.
In the first map (below), we set the projections to include sea level rise and typical annual flooding (weather that can be expected every year). We set the map to include what would happen with “unchecked pollution” between now and 2050. That setting most closely matches the current path we’re on, Climate Central said.
We set the bar to “medium,” which reflects the middle range of possibilities predicted by scientists.
Check out the screenshots below to see what coastal flooding in Texas could look like in 2050. Take a closer look using the interactive map here.
In Texas, projections show cities on the state’s southern coastline have the highest risk of being underwater by 2050. Cities like Galveston and Bayou Vista appear at risk of heavy flooding during annual high-water events according to the map projections.
Just southwest of Galveston, cities like Sargent and Freeport also see their coastline underwater, according to the projections. Other cities, like Oyster Creek and the Town of Quintana, are completely submerged during flood events.
Additionally, water from Hynes Bay appears to cover a considerable chunk of Tivoli. In the southeastern part of Texas, the entire wildlife area below Port Arthur appears flooded on the map.
The area between Beaumont and Rose City would also be flooded completely, according to projections.
Enjoy spending time at the islands along Corpus Christi? Projections show every island connected to the city will be underwater by 2050 as well. If the pattern repeats across the map, the financial toll could be devastating.
While touring flood damage in Vermont earlier this month, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the state has endured two storms that would be called “once-in-a-century” events in the span of just 12 years.
“We can’t go into the future requiring communities to put everything back exactly the way it was if a 100-year flood is about to become an annual event,” he said.
As the climate continues to warm, scientists predict flooding will become more common around the world. That’s because a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, which results in storms dumping more precipitation that can have deadly outcomes.
For every 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) the atmosphere warms, it holds approximately 7% more moisture. According to NASA, the average global temperature has increased by at least 1.1 degrees Celsius (1.9 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1880.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.