In Miami, sea levels are rising, and residents have noticed.

Flooded garage parking lot
Flooded parking garage after an hour of heavy rain (Photo: Courtesy of Navarrete)

Navarrete: “The water is here. It’s not that I’m talking about some sci-fi movie here. No. I live it. I see it, it’s tangible.”

That’s Valerie Navarrete. She’s lived in South Beach for more than 20 years.

About seven years ago, sea-level rise, a high tide, and rain combined to cause a major flood.

Navarrete: “I remember was a Friday afternoon and it was raining for about one hour. When we came out our garage had over three feet of water – not inches – feet. So we lost several cars. It’s just unbelievable.”

Navarrete’s garage now floods about once every other month. She often has to wear rainboots just to get to her car.

Navarrete: “And sometimes the water would be higher than that. So I couldn’t wear my boots because otherwise I would get the water inside the boots. So then we have to go barefoot, which is disgusting.”

And when the moon, earth, and sun align, tides are even higher than usual. They’re called king tides, and last for about a week. During king tides, Navarrete’s garage floods twice a day.

But Navarrete is determined to stay, even if it means that her rainboots become a permanent fashion statement.

Reporting credit: Rosie Simon/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Eileen Mignoni is a South Florida-based visual journalist who has been working on stories about science, the environment, and energy for nearly 10 years. In addition to her work at Yale Climate Connections,...