High tides in South Florida raise climate concerns

A sidewalk collapsed along this South Florida beach.
Mark Freerks

A sidewalk collapsed along this South Florida beach. 

Another high tide hit eroded areas of Fort Lauderdale Beach in Florida this week, officials hope it will be the last major high tide event of 2012.

Local and state officials scrambled to deal with erosion that threatened to undermine Highway A1A over the weekend. Underlying the entire crisis has been growing fear the rising sea levels would have a permanent impact on the beach.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler said the crisis presented "a unique opportunity to bring governmental and climate experts together to develop a long-term restoration and renourishment plan that will enable us to adapt to changing climate conditions, protect our region's economy and great quality of life, and continue to build strong, livable and sustainable communities."

Fort Lauderdale public affairs manager Chaz Adams wrote in an email, “We are also trying to emphasize that the erosion is only impacting a small, four-block portion of the beach and that access to hotels, restaurants and other areas of the beach are not affected. As you know, the erosion story has made national news and we want to reassure tourists and visitors that our beaches are still beautiful and accessible.”

Fort Lauderdale, Broward County and the Florida Department of Transportation were scrambling to develop plans to prevent further erosion and eventually rebuild the beach.

The ocean removed parking meters and traffic signals along A1A, just north of Sunrise Boulevard Hugh Taylor Birch State Park.

Local governments will work together to come up with a plan to deal with erosion concerns.

Read more and see photos in the South Florida Business Journal.

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