Oceanographers have a new tool to help predict coastal flooding along Maui’s vulnerable coastlines

The map shows coastal flooding predictions for the area based on expected sea level rise in upcoming years.
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 6:07 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 18, 2022 at 6:23 PM HST
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WEST MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new interactive mapping tool can help predict flooding from coastal surges in West Maui, that’s according to oceanographers.

Scientists said the area is especially vulnerable to rising ocean levels. Hotels, homes, and highways are already at risk.

“West Maui is one of the hardest hit regions probably statewide, definitely on Maui, with respect to the impacts of sea-level rise and coastal erosion and high waves and highway flooding,” said Tara Owens, a coastal geologist with the University of Hawaii Sea Grant Program.

Sea-level rise and large swells have caused severe coastal erosion all along Maui’s west shoreline.

“We did a study to basically provide information to let people know that it’s gonna get worse,” said Doug Luther, Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Director.

Researchers said the new tool shows coastal flooding predictions for the area in the upcoming years, which make it easier to plan ahead.

“If you’re a county planner interested in putting in a new sewage treatment facility, or you want to put in a school or something, you want it to last for 50 to 100 years, you’re gonna ask, well, what’s going to happen by the end of the century,” Luther said.

According to scientists, nothing can stop Mother Nature. However, the public can at least learn her patterns and plan for a better future.

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