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Hyperlocal viewer shows flood risk from sea rise

The Richardson Bay is seen creeping up on Greenwood Cove Road about 10:30 a.m. Nov. 23, shortly after the peak 6.6-foot king tide. More king tides are expected Dec. 20-26 and Jan. 18-23, when a storm could lead to flooding. (Elliot Karlan / For The Ark)

Marin County has unveiled a new interactive tool that allows residents to take a hyperlocal look at potential future shoreline flooding.

The goal of the Marin Sea-Level Rise Viewer, developed by the county department of public works, is to better inform and prepare communities for possible floods.

“Combining our sea-level rise scenarios with what our physical realities are here in Marin, we hope it provides a transparent tool to help local communities explore vulnerabilities to possible future sea-level rise, and it lets us see the intersection of our different vulnerabilities on the ground,” Julia Elkin, senior planner with the Marin County Department of Public Works, told the Belvedere City Council Nov. 14.

The viewer contains six possible scenarios drawn from those used in the county’s 2017 Bay Waterfront Adaptation and Vulnerability Evaluation, or BayWAVE, program: 10 inches of sea-level rise in 15 years, plus the effects of a 100-year storm surge; 20 inches of rise mid-century, plus the effects of a 100-year storm; and 5 feet of rise by the end of the century, plus the 100-year storm effects. A seventh scenario shows the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 100-year flood plain, as of its last update in March 2016.

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