If it’s raining hard and it’s high tide, chances are good parts of downtown Annapolis are flooding.
Sure enough, heavy rains overnight Sunday flooded parts of the City Dock area Monday morning at high tide, closing Dock Street, Newman Street and one lane of Compromise Street.
And if the forecast is right, it could happen again early Monday evening and on Tuesday morning.
City officials posted to Facebook around 3:45 p.m. that the water had not yet reached high tide, but restricted Compromise Street to one lane at Newman Street.
If Compromise Street floods completely, the city will shut down the Spa Creek Bridge to all traffic. Police officers are guiding traffic through the area.
Annapolis experienced on average 39.3 floods a year between 2007 and 2013, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This marks a 925-percent increase from the average 3.8 floods a year between 1957 and 1963. Private and government studies predict anywhere from double to quadruple the number of flood days by 2050.
Former chief of cultural preservation Lisa Craig predicted flooding could become an everyday occurrence in as little as 10 years without a comprehensive mitigation plan. She and the Weather It Together team out of the planning and zoning department produced a Cultural Resource Hazard Mitigation Plan that is still forthcoming.
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning again for the area Monday, saying tides could pose an additional flooding hazard. The city warned area motorists to check the area before traveling through it.
High tide Monday at 6:18 a.m. was about 1.4 feet above normal, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency. The National Weather Service reported 1.7 inches of rain fell on Annapolis as a storm moved through the area.
The NOAA tide forecast for Monday night calls for a 1-foot high tide, and then a 1.5-foot tide at 6:58 a.m. Tuesday. The weather service warned of more minor flooding for Monday night but less of a chance Tuesday morning.
The city advised parents of students at St. Mary's School and Annapolis Elementary School to plan their morning routes accordingly.
Annapolis is working on $6.5 million flood mitigation system that would prevent back-flow out of storm drains and high tides spilling over the top of seawalls. The city has contracted AECOM, an engineering firm out of Los Angeles, to plan and design a flood mitigation system. The design process will last until September, said David Jarrell, Annapolis public works director. The project is scheduled to begin in March 2019 and could be finished by June 2020.
To help pay for it, the city is set to use $2 million in the state budget set for the coming fiscal year, and is seeking an additional $3 million from the federal government.
Phase one of the city’s ongoing flood mitigation project will include a pump station to house controls for the underground system. After several residents requested more time to comment on the location of the building, the Department of Public Works has extended it to the end of the month. The city has offered configurations of the pump station on the Newman Street park next to the basketball court.
Phase two, on the Dock Street side of Ego Alley, is unscheduled — pending plans of a proposed boutique hotel and underground garage off City Dock.
The contractor will complete the construction in phases, beginning on Compromise Street. Pumps planned for the Dock Street side of Ego Alley would conflict with an underground garage Mayor Gavin Buckley has proposed for the City Dock area. Though the garage is largely conceptual, public works will wait until the other side “sorts itself out,” Jarrell said, before completing work.