What's at Stake
People living along the coast face a host of natural perils, from eroding shorelines to floods, earthquakes, and tsunamis. The impacts of some of these hazards are increasing as the region’s climate continues to change. Sea level rise, for instance, will increase coastal flooding over time and lead to more severe wave damage from winter storms.
Washington has over 3,000 miles of coastline, and more than 400 square miles of land at an elevation within three feet of the high tide line. Critical community infrastructure and 9,000 homes, worth more than $5.25 billion, have been built in these vulnerable areas. 
These hazards are financially and socially disruptive, and some events are truly catastrophic. Such perils cannot be avoided, but by forecasting risks and planning ahead, communities can minimize the damage and injury, and recover more quickly, after a disastrous event.
"Advances in our understanding about the processes, timing, and probability of sea level rise affecting the coastal communities of Washington State makes an updated sea level rise assessment timely and necessary."
-Dr. Ian Miller,
Coastal Hazard Specialist at Washington Sea Grant
 Strauss, B. et al. (2014) California, Oregon, Washington and the Surging Sea: A vulnerability assessment with projections for sea level rise and coastal flood risk. Climate Central Research Report. p. 14.
Top Photo: Hugh Shipman (Washington Department of Ecology)