As tides rise in South Florida, some wonder if sea levels are to blame

LANTANA, Fla. -- A perfect alignment between the Earth and the moon has led to higher tides than usual in South Florida and questions over whether a rise in sea levels was to blame.

Costa Panais, a co-owner of the Dune Deck Cafe, said this week's tides were the highest he had seen in 22 years.

On Friday, part of the parking lot near his beachfront business was under water.

"It's gotten worse. I don't remember in the early times when we had the restaurant being this bad," Panais said. "It's gotten a lot worse over the last five years."

Tides in South Florida are higher than usual, but meteorologists said additional data had to be collected to determine whether the higher tides were being caused by a rise in sea levels.

"Twice a month, we have what are called spring tides when the moon is full and the moon is new," Glenn Glazer, a meteorologist at WPTV NewsChannel 5 said. "Imagine if you get a spring tide right when the moon is closest to the Earth. The National Weather Service has confirmed that we are seeing higher than predicted tides for this year. But, why it's actually happening will have to be decided after a lot of the data is finally looked over and analyzed."

Rich Schrim, a North Palm Beach resident who has built docks for homes and businesses for 26 years, said some of his customers had been impacted by the higher tides.

"It happens every year … but, it's getting a little more intense," Schrim, an owner of Marine Construction said. "The electrical components that are down and all the junction boxes and the electric and anything else you have out on the dock can and more than often does get damaged."

In Lantana, Panais said he worried whether the higher tides -- and, the water in the parking lot -- would affect his business.

"The water is very deep in the parking lot. And, we've had some stalls out there in the past," Panais said. "People have a hard time getting in here. I would hate for my customers to come here and have that experience."

Across South Florida, several local governments have consulted with meteorologists and scientists to develop a regional approach to rise in sea levels.

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