Sea Level Rise: Flying Over Charleston

Visualizing a flood 7 feet above high tide in Charleston, South Carolina

The video below shows what Charleston could look like if a storm as rare and destructive as Hurricane Hugo were to return to Charleston today.

It visualizes what 7 feet of storm surge looks like if it were to arrive on top of high tide*

About the Video

  • In 1989, Hurricane Hugo came into Charleston with a storm tide that was almost 7 feet above the average high tide line. If another storm like Hugo comes, it would arrive on a higher, rising sea.
  • We developed this video using Google Earth Studio. Google Earth lets us visualize water levels in three dimensions.


In order to interpret any given coastal water level, it is essential to know how high the water level is in relation to a reference level known as a tidal datum.

Video Locations

Video locations as shown on Climate Central’s Coastal Risk Screening Tool set to 7 feet above the high tide line below:

View south across Spring and Cannon St./17

Location 1

Southern facing view across Spring St and Cannon St / US-17 towards Courtenay Dr, across to Comfort Inn
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Battery / White Point Garden

Location 2

The Battery / White Point Garden / King St area
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Cathedral of St John the Baptist

Location 3

Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist
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Concord St. area

Location 4

Bird's-eye view moving NE along Concord St area from S Adgers Wharf up to Gillon St
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Movement NE along E battery and E Bay passing Atlantic St. and Water St

Location 5

E Battery and E Bay St area moving in NE direction, passing Atlantic St and Water St, approaching Carolina Yacht Club
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Maps were developed from Climate Central's Coastal Risk Screening Tool.

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Program on Sea Level Rise

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