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Sveinn Storm, owner of Storm Bros. Ice Cream Factory, measures the floodwaters outside his store in Annapolis, Md., on Oct. 30, 2012, in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. / File photo by Susan Walsh, AP

Rising sea levels due to climate change are leading to an increase in so-called nuisance flooding, according to a report released Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

"It no longer takes a strong storm or a hurricane to cause flooding," said NOAA oceanographer William Sweet, lead author of the report. "Flooding now occurs with high tides in many locations due to climate-related sea-level rise, land subsidence and the loss of natural barriers," he said.

Flooding has increased on all three U.S. coasts between 300% and 925% since the 1960s, though the biggest increases have been found in cities in the Mid-Atlantic.

"Impacts from recurrent coastal flooding include overwhelmed stormwater drainage capacity, frequent road closures and general deterioration and corrosion of infrastructure not designed to withstand frequent inundation or saltwater exposure," according to the NOAA report.

Sea level has risen nearly 8 inches worldwide since 1880, but it doesn't rise evenly. In the past 100 years, it has climbed about a foot or more in some U.S. cities.

Depending on fossil-fuel emissions, scientists project global sea level will rise about one foot to slightly more than 3 feet (or 39 inches) by 2100, according to last year's Fifth Assessment Report by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Here are the 10 U.S. cities with the greatest percentage increases in "nuisance" flooding since the 1960s.

City / Percentage increase
Annapolis, Md. 925%
Baltimore 922%
Atlantic City, 682%
Philadelphia 650%
Sandy Hook, N.J. 626%
Port Isabel, Texas 547%
Charleston, S.C. 409%
Washington, D.C. 373%
San Francisco 364%
Norfolk, Va. 325%

Contributing: Wendy Koch, USA TODAY



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: All wet: USA's top 10 cities for 'nuisance' flooding

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