On the morning of November 5th, the highest astronomical tide of the year--the so-called King Tide--will swamp low-lying areas throughout Hampton Roads, with water peaking at 2 feet above mean sea level.
"King tides are increasingly viewed as harbingers of things to come as sea levels rise," says Dr. Derek Loftis, an assistant research scientist at William & Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
Now, Loftis has teamed with environmental reporter David Mayfield of The Virginian-Pilot, which along with WHRO Public Media, the Daily Press, and WVEC-TV are sponsoring a "Catch the King" event that will encourage local citizens to measure the reach of this year's highest tide using a purpose-built smart-phone app.
The freely available SeaLevelRise app was created by the non-profit Wetlands Watch and software developer Concursive, both based in Norfolk.
It allows users to record GPS coordinates as they trace the landward reach of a flood event, whether due to a particularly high tide, a storm, or a combination of the two.
The app then uploads these data points to an online map that anyone can see--whether in the app or on the Sea Rising Solutions website.