The highest storm tide - the combination of tide level and storm surge - in Portland was recorded during the blizzard of 1978, said Stephen Dickson, a marine geologist with the Maine Geological Survey who will speak at the conference.
On Feb. 7, 1978, a 2.5-foot storm surge combined with an 11.6-foot tide resulted in a total storm tide of 14.1 feet, he
But geologists recently learned that there have been storm surges of 4, 5 and 6 feet through the decades in Portland, according to tide gauge records going back to 1912.
The highest storm surge on record was 6.5 feet, on Jan. 24, 1921, but that occurred during low tide so its impact was minimal.
"If we had a surge like that at high tide, we would have waters where we never had them before.
And then we would have our own Sandy," Dickson