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Extreme coastal water level in Washington state: Guidance to support sea level rise planning

July 1, 2019

This document provides guidelines for assessing exposure to future coastal flooding during extreme coastal water level events – whether these are due to tides, surge, wave run-up, or, more likely, a combination of the three. These guidelines provide information about the current and future magnitude of extreme coastal water levels across Washington State and the underlying processes that influence them. This information is intended to be combined with sea level projections to assess future exposure to coastal flooding along Washington’s coastline.
Although the results of our analyses can be combined with any available sea level projections, this report is intended as a companion to the localized sea level rise projections (Miller et al., 2018) developed as part of the Washington Coastal Resilience Project. The Washington Coastal Resilience Project was a three-year effort to rapidly increase the state’s capacity to prepare for sea level rise. The project aimed to improve risk projections, provide better guidelines for land use planners and strengthen capital investment programs for coastal restoration and infrastructure. Partners in the Washington Coastal Resilience Project included Washington Sea Grant, Washington Department of Ecology, Island County, King County, NOAA Office for Coastal Management, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Padilla Bay National Estuary Research Reserve, The City of Tacoma, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Geological Survey, University of Oregon, University of Washington Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Western Washington University.
The 2018 sea level projections are described in an accompanying technical report, along with a review of the science related to sea level rise (Miller et al., 2018). The report and all associated supporting information are available on the Washington Coastal Hazards Resilience Network website (

Publication Year 2019
Title Extreme coastal water level in Washington state: Guidance to support sea level rise planning
Authors I.M. Miller, Nathan R. vanArendonk, Eric E. Grossman
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Other Government Series
Index ID 70205780
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center