MEAN HIGH WATER


Flooding & Sea Level Rise in the SC Lowcountry





ABOUT
Mean High Water (MHW) is a project documenting the impacts of sea level rise & flooding in and beyond the South Carolina Lowcountry. The title is in reference to the MHW tidal datum defined and maintained by the NOAA Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Service.

The tides of Charleston Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean are increasingly encroaching into the natural and built environment of Charleston and the Lowcountry. The rate of increase in the number of coastal flood events is alarming. Approximately 45% of all coastal floods observed in Charleston Harbor from 1953 through 2020 have occurred since 2010. An average of 18.8 coastal floods occurred per year in the 1990s. In the 2010s, the annual average was 42.4 coastal floods2, an increase of over 200%.

MHW was started in 2020 by photographer and engineer Jared Bramblett. It is intended to be an evolving and collaborative documentation of the impacts of flooding. If you are interested in participating and submitting to the project, please reach out. All content on this site is copyrighted. If you are interested in using any content, please submit a request.


CONTACT
Jared Bramblett
jaredbramblett@gmail.com

︎ ︎ ︎  
All thoughts and opinions presented on this site are solely those of the author and are not necessarily those of any other organizations.


01    INDEX︎︎︎
02    CHARLESTON UNDER WATER ︎︎︎
03    LATEST ︎︎︎
04    NEWSLETTER ︎︎︎
05    RESOURCES︎︎︎





RECORDS & STATISTICS
Charleston Harbor, Cooper River Entrance1

Coastal Floods (>7-ft MLLW)2
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
89 (2019)
68 (2020)
58 (2015)
55 (2016)
46 (2017, 2021)

Major Coastal Floods (>8-ft MLLW)2
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
7 (2020)
6 (2015)
4 (2021)
4 (2019)
3 (2018)

Peak Tide Crests (MLLW)3
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
09/22/1989 - 12.52-ft (Hugo)
08/11/1940 - 10.23-ft (Unnamed)
09/11/2017 - 9.92-ft (Irma)
10/08/2016 - 9.29 (Matthew)
01/01/1987 - 8.81-ft 

26 of the 40 (65%) major flood tides on record have occurred since 2015.3

Statistics current as of 07/01/2022


REFERENCES

1Tidal Benchmark Station - Charleston, Cooper River Entrance, SC - Station ID: 8665530

2NWS Coastal Flood Event Database

3Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, Charleston, SC 

Louisville’s Flood Protection System

September 29, 2021
3rd Street Gate
I was in Louisville early this year, and I took some time to walk and document their floodwall system. These floodwalls are part of the Louisville Metro’s Ohio River Flood Protection System, which contains 26.1 miles of floodwall and levees, 16 pump stations, approximately 150 flood gates, and 79 floodwall closures. You can learn more about the system on the Louisville/Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District’s webpage.

As Charleston considers a coastal flood protection system, I think this study can serve as an example and help inform our design process to integrate the walls into the urban and historic environment of the Charleston Peninsula. This is not what the Charleston project would look like; that will not be determined until the project is authorized and proceeds into design. You can read more about the Army Corps’ tentatively selected plan on the Charleston Peninsula Coastal Flood Risk Management Study’s webpage, and you can submit comments on the proposal through October 25th.


© 2022