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In Charleston, S.C., rising seas have combined with more extreme rain events — a phenomenon also exacerbated by climate change — to create a chronic flooding problem in the city, which sits on a low-lying peninsula.

"The entire peninsula is really affected," says Katie McKain, Charleston's director of sustainability. She says in the summer, flooding is often forecast once a week, which means it's a big part of what her office is dealing with on a daily basis. Every time there's possible flooding, public alerts need to be sent out and the police department has to close roads that are underwater.

"It's difficult," she says of the chronic road closures. "Having the personnel to do it is a challenge."

"We're planning for 2-3 feet of sea level rise over the next 50 years," says McKain. "It's just something we're getting ingrained in everyone's heads."

The city is also thinking long-term about how to adapt to future tidal flooding. Charleston's chief resilience officer, Mark Wilbert, has brought in engineers and planners from the Netherlands to help develop new infrastructure. The city is upgrading some sewers, installing valves to help keep out ocean water during particularly high tides.
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