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CCEE’s Dr. Katherine Anarde’s work on “Sunny Day Flooding” research featured on PBS

CCEE assistant professor Dr. Katherine Anarde and other researchers from NC State and UNC Chapel Hill were featured on PBS for their work on the Sunny Day Flooding Project, which focuses on working with coastal communities in North Carolina to measure, model and better understand the causes and impacts of chronic flooding. 

Climate change has caused “sunny day flooding,” defined as ocean water flooding coastal towns on normal “sunny” days, to double in frequency over the last two decades. 

“Our stormwater infrastructure, which was built decades ago, is not performing as intended,” says Anarde, who joined the CCEE faculty last August as part of the Environmental, Water Resources, and Coastal Engineering Group. “With rising seas, water can go up through storm drains and overflow onto streets.”

The frequency of the flooding disrupts everyday life.  For example, flooding may force changes in commuting routes, and bus schedules and may prevent customers from reaching businesses. 

Anarde and the other researchers, including CCEE master’s student Thomas Thelen, are examining the extent of the issue in Beaufort, North Carolina, and other nearby towns and working on potential solutions. The team has created cost-effective storm-drain sensors to collect flooding data in real-time. They’ve also installed street cameras that live stream views of the road to their website

Anarde earned her Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from Rice University in 2019 and her B.A. in geology from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2011. Prior to joining the NC State faculty, she was a postdoctoral researcher in the Coastal Environmental Change Lab at UNC and project manager for the Collaboratory for Coastal Adaptation over Space and Time (C-CoAST), an NSF CoPe Research Coordination Network.